Tragedy Close to Home

May 10, 2016

Recently there was a woman who was killed driving home with her family from a close vacation spot who was hit by a random bullet. That bullet didn’t have her in mind, but it hit her nonetheless. Her two children will now grow up without a mother and her husband instantly became a widower all because of a random bullet.

Things like this haunt me. Was she at the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was it in fact her time? I think about that movie “Final Destination,” where death finds you wherever you are when it is your time. The characters in that movie cannot escape death as hard as they try. Or do accidents like this happen completely randomly? And if they do, how do you keep your family safe?

I come from a long line of worry warts, I’m Jewish after all. We worry about all necessary things to worry about – children happy, safe and healthy. Then there’s all the extra things – the sky is falling type things. How do you keep safety at the forefront, yet live your life to the fullest? Clearly there’s things you can do; avoid extreme sports, always wear seatbelts, use helmets, etc. Those things will increase the likelihood of you and your children staying safe. Should this innocent woman have stayed home and not gone on vacation with her family? Would that have made the difference? Or what if she stopped for lunch instead of driving straight? How do these decisions NOT drive you crazy?!

I try my best to appreciate each and every day. It’s easy to get caught up in daily frustrations though. Hearing about tragedies like these force you to refocus. I bet that mom spent the morning yelling at her children to pack up their stuff and put their shoes on. Little did she know that would be the last morning she nagged her children. How do we, the people that are blessed enough to (G-d willing) have many more mornings full of nagging, realize and appreciate how lucky we are to have these moments as frustrating as they may be?

How do we make this story have a positive influence on our days? We certainly can’t make this lady’s outcome any better for her. We could, however, use this as an opportunity to realize how fragile life is. It’s easy for me (hence the worry wart part) to use this story to fuel my worries. It’s easy for this to become something that frightens me to death. I want to board up my children in the basement, create a safe haven, and never leave. The world is just too scary. But what good would that do? Then this lady’s tragedy would be a double tragedy – the end of our lives as well.

My ancestors were forced to overcome tragedy and keep living their lives. If they could overcome the atrocities that they were up against, I can certainly overcome tragedy in the news. It’s always going to be a scary world (if not scarier as the days go by) and there are always going to be bad stories. How we chose to live our lives is the only thing we can control. I’m going to use this story and stories sadly like it as a reminder to hug my children tighter, enjoy shenanigans a little more, and let the daily gripes bother me a little less. At least then we can say something good came out of this lady’s tragedy.


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