Friday, March 16, 2012

“Reflections On A Monday Morning”


c. 2012 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(3-12)



The tragic events at Chardon High School literally shook this community to its foundation. Yet as the world looked on, we came together with a single purpose - to begin the process of healing.

Churches opened to receive those who would kneel in prayer. There were candlelight vigils. And memorials set up both at the school, and on the Chardon square.
But for this writer, a different methodology seemed appropriate.

Healing words were what I sought.

A call went out to family and friends, across the Internet. I asked for real-time thoughts about what had transpired.

First to respond was a friend from my days at Kresse’s Bi-Rite, a supermarket that once operated in Chardon Plaza.

She had joined the crew while still in school. Years later, she remains a Chardon resident, raising her sons in Geauga’s capitol city.

What follows here is her own ‘first take’ on the Monday we will never forget:

Cheryl Kelly, CHS Class of 1988

You kiss your children goodbye…send them out the door…drop them off…watch them ride away in that bus taking them to the one place on this earth that you trust completely to take care of them when they are not with you…school.

In one day…one morning…one hour…one second…everything changes. Your trust is violated…and the one thing you hold dearest to you…your child…is unsafe.

You watch it unfold…hear the sounds…see the fear…and you almost can’t believe it’s true. Surely this cannot be happening in your home town…to your community, to your children.

Fear grips you…you just can’t get to your child quick enough…and that feeling of powerlessness washes over you as you wait…and worry…and hope…and pray like you never have before in your life that your child comes home to you…safe…unharmed.

Moments seem like years and you watch people around you…people you know…people you have had in your life for years…your friends…your coworkers…your neighbors…your family. You see it…the fear…the unmistakable panic in their eyes and you know it, because you feel it too. Where is my son…where is my daughter…is he safe…did she get hurt?

You start thinking…did I tell him I loved him this morning? Did I argue with her over what she was wearing? Is he afraid? Is she hiding? Is anyone watching over or taking care of my most precious possession?

You get the news in bits and pieces…one student shooting…five students hurt…schools on lockdown…emergency personnel on site...students getting evacuated…and you still don’t know about your child…your son…your daughter.

When you arrive at the school you see things you have never seen before in your small town. News media everywhere…cameras…reporters…ambulances…police cars from every location…helicopters in the air…swat teams dressed in black. All things except the one thing you want to see…your child.

You wait patiently as they release children…one hour, two hours…and then you see him…coming around the corner…in one piece and with a look of worry and confusion on his young face.

You grab him with everything you are…and you hold him close and take him home never wanting to let go.

You watch the nightmare continue on the screen…details come out that you were so hoping you would not hear…there are deaths. How can this be happening?

The gunman is apprehended…quietly. Children are returned to their parents…but not all of them get to go home. Your thoughts immediately go to those parents…your heart aches for them. They sent their child to school and they never came home…their lives ended before they ever got a chance to begin…you can’t begin to imagine what that feels like and you cry for them…

So incredibly senseless…so incredibly overwhelming…and the questions keep coming. Why did this happen…how did this happen?

Communities come together…neighbors…strangers…flock to one another in a show of support…a show of love…knowing that this could have easily been their child…their life that was changed forever…

The damage will remain forever…our small town changed forever…our children affected forever.

Postscript: I can only add a single thought to this piece. “We have one heartbeat, forever.”

Comments about Thoughts At Large may be sent to: icewritesforyou@gmail.com
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