Death is never an easy thing. It is hard to accept and most times harder to understand. When death comes through illness it is a bit easier to come to terms with but when death comes in circumstances of heartless violence it is shattering.
I went to bed last night with several persons on my Twitter timeline tweeting about their excitement to see the Dark Knight Rises at its first showing and with others putting it off for later this weekend. I woke up this morning with my timeline flooded about the shooting that happened at the premiere in Aurora. The last time I checked the shooting claimed the lives 12 and injured over 50 persons who were at that movie trying to enjoy themselves with friends and family. The youngest victim was twelve. In the days to come we will be able to put names and faces to the victims. However, there is already one name and one face that causes my heart to break every time I think of her.
Jessica was an aspiring Sportscaster who moved from Texas to Colorado to pursue that dream. If any of you reading this has read the news today you might also be aware that she narrowly avoided the Eaton shooting in Toronto a couple weeks ago. She attended this movie with a friend and just like that – a man on a rampage, two bullets and the life of a 24 year old was snuffed out. Gone.
My mind is filled with questions. Why? How? What blackness of soul could persuade someone to walk into a movie theatre and open fire on persons with no way of escape? I feel at times like humans are steadily losing humanity, losing sight of the importance of a human life. We aren’t just figures occupying a board game called Life. Every person is a bundle of dreams, hopes, fears, memories and people who love them. There isn’t a precious stone or a denomination of money that will ever be able to put a value on a life and for all of the inventions in this world – life is still a very fragile thing. It’s worth so much but can so easily be taken from us. When thinking about this it is even harder to comprehend how someone could turn a gun on person after person and shoot.
Mixed with the sadness and rage is the knowledge that incidents like this so painfully and abruptly point out that death can come at any time. Death isn’t discriminating nor does it ask you to plan it in your daily planner.
Death is acceptably out of our control but we can control the way we live.
I’m now more determined to chase my dreams until breathless, love as hard as I can, dream out loud and hold the important people in my life as close as possible.
I will remember when I’m frustrated that every day I am still breathing is a gift.
I think every day we can honour Jessica and every other person who has had their life taken from them (whether it be a victim of the civil war in Syria, the fighting in the Congo or a victim of a botched robbery) by fulling appreciating that nothing makes us more worthy of life than the next person and from that realization live this gift we were given as fully, humbly and with as much empathy and love for our fellow humans as possible.
Rest in Peace.