For my community, this has been one of the hardest times I can ever remember. We have lost four, very special lives within weeks of each other. While these tragic losses have been surrounded by so many good things like sports wins, holidays, and celebrations in times of loss the bad always seems to outweigh the good.
Loss when you're young is hard. You don't expect people to be taken away from you so suddenly, so soon. You don't expect the most vibrant among us, the ones with the contagious smiles and laughs to be the ones that go before their time. While all loss hurts, I think those are the ones that hurt the most because you are not only grieving for the memories of that person but you grieve for all that could have been. You grieve for the people that they could have been and would have been if only they had been granted more time. And you grieve for the people that haven't even met them yet because you know they would love them as much as you did.
Small towns experience and feel the most pain out of all the places I've seen. Because we all hurt together because besides losing someone ourselves, we have to see all the other people we love and care about lose someone too. Our love for them in these times grows stronger because of the pain we all feel. Pain makes you love more. Pain strips away hardness and walls that you've built around your hurt. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you raw. Pain and loss will soften you and will make your love for those still with you grow stronger.
Death can allow us to see our own mortality, realize our finitude and pursue a meaningful life. For the dying, death can be a release of a slowly deteriorating body. Times of death can allow us to hug our loved ones, allow us to cry with our family and friends and honor a life well lived. It gives us an opportunity to come together as a community. Embracing death can allow us to embrace life. And contemplating our mortality can allow us to pursue vitality. And when we embrace death, maybe we can overcome
In this time of loss we lovingly remember Doug and Genna Shawley, Jenny Dresselhaus and Randy Kollmann. Our lives have been forever touched by your presence.
Small towns have their own heartbeat. They have their own life and breath. And just like people they have their ups and downs, their good times and bad. Just like people, they come through hard times stronger, better and more loving.
To all we have lost, thank you for making goodbyes so hard. We will love you all forever.