The last seven days have proven to be some absolutely tragic times, both for this country and personally.
Last Thursday, 10 people including the gunman were killed in a campus shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. This tragedy is the latest in what has become an epidemic in this country as mass shootings have become a near-weekly occurrence. I won’t go in depth about how I feel about the gun laws in the U.S. as I’m not in the mood to argue with anyone nor is this the appropriate forum for a discussion. All I’ll say is that this can be prevented and it sickens me to still see this happening.
On a personal level, I learned last Friday about a mother of an extended relative of mine in Orange County passing away. She died at age 50 after complications of a stroke. Although I met her only once during a family gathering in 2011, I remember her as a gracious and admirable woman well liked by everyone around her.
That extended relative of mine who is grieving over the loss of her mother this week is in her 20s like I am. It reminded me of another person around the same age — a friend of mine in Nebraska — who lost her mother in a car accident back in May. Although I never met her mother, I can only imagine she embodies the same wonderful spirit as my friend and the other mother who passed on last week.
None of these deaths impact me the same way those closer to them are impacted. The nature of these kinds of deaths, however, are still heartbreaking and tragic. On one end, the victims in Oregon did not deserve to die in such senseless violence. On the other, seeing two people that are my age this year alone grappling with the loss of their mothers at this stage of their lives puts things in a more personal perspective when it comes to losing a loved one.
I never lost anyone I had any strong feelings for. The closest would be the passing of my paternal grandmother in December 2005. I chose not to attend her funeral back then as I lacked any emotions for the woman despite having grown up and partially raised by her. I have yet to know what it feels like to lose someone closer to me who I value a great deal and love.
Seeing all these losses does serve as a reminder to all of us to cherish our loved ones — parents, siblings, cousins, friends — and not to take their presence for granted. It reminds us that life is too short and we never know how much we truly value someone until they are gone. They are the people that made us. They are the people that complement our lives. Let them know today how much you appreciate and love them. It’s the least we can do to maintain humanity for all of us, especially during times of tragedy.