Thursday, September 24, 2015

Subject: NO WORDS!

I have a coffee mug in my kitchen that says "Ridgefield; a small town is
like a big family." One of the best parts of living or working in small
community, especially one that you grew up in, is that you experience a
great sense of closeness and you get to know a lot of different people. This
past weekend underscored the need for a small town to come together as we
experienced several horrific events. Ridgefield was reeling from the events
of Friday evening and was then thunderstruck again on Sunday.

On Friday afternoon, a 19-year-old UCONN sophomore from Ridgefield was a
passenger in a car that was struck by a truck and was killed along with one
other occupant of that vehicle. Due to the advent of social media, this
devastating news spread through the town like wildfire. Many people knew the
family and were literally brought tears by what had happened:  every
parents' worse nightmare. Friends and fellow students of this young man were
deeply, deeply moved by this tragedy and many began to look at the fragility
of human life especially as it relates to young people. Perhaps one person
on Facebook summed up the feelings of an entire community when she wrote "No
Words!"

Then, early Sunday evening the unimaginable, and even unbelievable, happened
once again. Two Colgate freshman from Ridgefield, were involved in a plane
crash where both of them perished. How could something like this have
happened again?  How can these families possibly process this information
and deal with the worse news than any parent could possibly hear? The news
of the subsequent accident brought more and more of us to tears. The Town
immediately came together looking for ways to help these families but what
really could be done to offer any type of solace.

As news of these horrible accidents became known, I first called my
21-year-old son at UCONN, and fighting through the tears, told him how much
I loved him. I made him promise me that he would carefully analyze decisions
that he was confronted with and to think very hard and long about actions
that he was about to take because the adverse consequences can result in
horrible injuries or even death. I then called my two daughters and had the
same conversation with them. These pathetically sad situations cause many of
us to philosophize about a number of weighty issues.

For me, I was bathed by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.  I counted my
many blessings and I thought about how many times during the course the day
I might become upset with any given situation or would be abrupt with some
of those around me, including my family. I thought very deeply about the
fact that life does not come with any guarantees and it is given to us
without any warranties. It is also made available to us for a limited time
only. So how can we make each of our lives richer or fuller or what can we
give to others? How can we leave this world a better place? These questions
should cause us to pause and think about how each of us might think and act
differently.

It is so very unfortunate that often it takes horrible tragedies to cause us to
stop and take an inventory of our individual lives so we might make changes
to improve how we interact with others. Hopefully, people can make changes
that will have a positive impact upon others so that these vibrant young
people will not have died in vain. To the families of these beautiful souls, please
know that entire communities stand beside you in shouldering some of your
grief.

Please be good to each other and remember that life is a gift, that's
why it's called the present.




5 comments:

  1. Excellent post Richard. Makes us stop, think, and hug (or call) our kids when we can.

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  2. So very true Bill! We are so blessed and have much to be thankful for on so many levels! Peace, Richard

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  3. Richard, Excellent post and my heartfelt sympathy to those families in this time of grief. Thankfully they have a great community with people like you surrounding them.

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  4. Richard, Excellent post and my heartfelt sympathy to those families in this time of grief. Thankfully they have a great community with people like you surrounding them.

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