Last week is one I hope to never go through again.
Sunday, February 11. After the liturgy Sunday morning, we always have fellowship hour (it used to be called coffee hour but our new priest wants to emphasize the fellowship part and not the coffee part). Anyways, there was going to be a meeting to talk about our annual festival so although I didn’t go to church, I came for the meeting. Before the meeting started, I enjoyed fellowship (and coffee 🙂 ) with Alex M., a young man (26) who I’ve known forever. He married his high school sweetheart a couple of years ago. They’re a very nice young couple.
Monday morning. Our priest sent an email blast to the community to let us know that Alex had taken a friend to the Emeryville Amtrak station Sunday night where he was robbed and shot in the head. He survived but he’s still in critical condition. A random act of violence and this young man’s life and that of his entire family is changed forever. We don’t know the extent of his injuries but they did have to operate to remove bone and bullet fragments. *
Wednesday morning. Another email blast is sent to let us know that a parishioner had died from a massive heart attack on Tuesday afternoon. This man was my age and although I’ve known his family for years, we’d never really talked all that much until recently. He was a painter by trade and Mom hired him to paint her house last fall. Saturday morning he was at her house to prime her new front door and side door to her garage. He was going to return later in the week to paint the doors. Every afternoon when he’d get home from work, he and his wife went for a walk, and apparently it happened on their walk. The paramedics told her that it was so massive that he was probably gone by the time he hit the ground.
Plus there was the horrific shooting in Florida. It’s hard to wrap my head around it all.
Wednesday would have been my dad’s 94th birthday, so my brother, Mom and I went to the cemetery to take flowers to him and Bob. Wednesday night, there was a prayer service at church for Alex. The Greek Orthodox church has a service with prayers to the Virgin Mary for those who are sick or in pain. The church was packed. In fact, I had to sit in the choir loft because all of the pews were full.
Losing someone you love is hard. How do you get past losing someone you love so unexpectedly? A friend who lost her husband last year said she was at least able to say goodbye. The woman who lost her husband on Tuesday didn’t get that chance.
It seems like violence has become an acceptable commodity in the US. The people I know, the people I follow on social media and the internet, they all abhor violence. I’d like to think that most people do too. So if that’s the case, why does it feel impossible to change our laws to keep assault weapons out of the hands of civilians? Why do people choose random acts of violence like the person who robbed and shot Alex for no apparent reason?
Our schools should be a safe place for our children. I don’t have children of my own, but the thought of my nieces and friends’ children being put in harm’s way simply because they are going to school is ridiculous. What can we do to bring back a sense of normalcy to our lives?
I read Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. Her essay this week
was a powerful reminder to me that I can only change myself. Here’s just one paragraph:
“Today, there is no doubt in my heart and mind that I am never going to vote for a human being who doesn’t oppose assault weapons. I’m never going to vote for an elected official who doesn’t speak out against domestic violence. I’m never going to vote for someone who doesn’t believe that climate change is real. I’m never going to vote for someone who won’t fund NIH research into crippling diseases. I’m never going to vote for a person who runs the White House with people who can’t get security clearances and who can’t admit when they’ve made a mistake. I’m never going to vote for someone who uses their voice to sow doubt in facts and confuse the American people.”
But I also know that anyone who reads this blog probably feels similarly to me, so I’m not changing anyone’s mind.
On the home front, I’m on vacation this week. Wednesday I leave for my annual trek to Santa Clara for Stitches West, a knitting and crochet wonderland of classes, knitting, an amazing marketplace and a great time to spend with many, many knitters. Oh, and did I mention knitting? The lobby of the hotel that’s attached to the convention center is packed with people knitting, talking, sharing their purchases, and having a cocktail or two. Plus it’s great people or should I say, what people are wearing, watching?
I’m a little worried that my knee pain is going to keep me from enjoying myself, but am staying positive that the exercises, topical cream and especially the lacrosse ball will help keep me moving this week. After all, there’s a lot of yarn to checkout and decisions to be made about what to bring home. What’s this about a lacrosse ball, you ask? The physical therapist recommended it, and it makes a difference! I hold it against the side of my knee and find the pain point, then just apply as much pressure as I can. It also feels good when I find the tension in the tops of my thighs.
Well, that’s enough for now. I hope you are able to find some sunshine in your lives, whether it’s the one in the sky or the one in your hearts.
* It’s now been a week and Alex is still sedated and in critical condition.