Consecutive Days Riding: 52 Consecutive Days Blogging: 53
Today’s Mileage: 12 Total Trip Mileage: 462
I ride the bike today with a sense of sadness concerning the four police officers who were gunned down on Sunday. I study the photos of their dedicated faces and read of the families left behind. I wish there was something I could do to take away their loss and pain. But as I know from experience, having sat with grieving friends and clients, there is little we can do. We cannot bring back their loved one, we cannot grant them one more smile, hug or kiss from the departed. We can not make everything “right again,” we cannot turn back time.
I will leave a prayer for the officers and their families under my prayer flag and be reminded how fortunate I am for every breath I take, every beautiful scene and smiling face I see as I continue on my journey. I pray that the families have neighbors, friends, loved ones and spiritual communities to comfort them in this time of need. I hope their spiritual beliefs carry them through this difficult time and give them a purpose to continue. I hope there comes a day when they can let go of the biting pain and find a way to carry memories of their loved one with a smile and thankfulness for the time they shared. But that is down the road. We must give them time to grieve this tragic loss. Please hold them in your prayers.
None of us know when our death will come and how it will happen. I hope to take my last breath surrounded by family and friends at the end of a long, joyful life. Each day I spend hours commuting, speeding past road side memorials that act as testimonials to daily dangers. I know too many people, younger then myself who are no longer with us, taken by cancer or heart attacks. I have a son who will enter the Army in the new year. Then I must live with the possibility of a knock on the door by a pair of officers with news no parent should have to hear.
We don’t have a choice of when or how we will die. We only have a choice of how we will live! We can not bring back the dead, but we can choose how we will carry on with their memory. I have a friend whose life reads like a tragic novel. Her mother died when she was very young, her step-mother brutalized her and her father turned a blind eye. In youth she turned to church leaders for guidance, they offered her only sexual advances. At 18 she ran away with a “kind man” who turned out to be an abuser, but he gave her a loving son. She broke free of the abusive relationship, stood on her own two feet, fended off sexual advances from clergy and employers and moved to find a new life.
One night her loving compassionate teenage son was gunned down on his bike while riding home from the store. Two teenagers with a handgun, just taking pot shots at shadows, took her son away from her. It’s been 15 years since she buried him. She lives in constant pain and sadness, alcohol deadens her loss. She is dying from grief and liver disease. She pleads for answers, sometimes asking God for strength, at other times she rails against him with insistent “Whys?”
She made a choice to place her suffering at the center of her life, instead of choosing to find meaning in the joyful memories of her son and finding ways to share them with the world. Life dealt her one too many blows and she has never recovered. I share her story with you in hope that you, as I have, will find a lesson in it so that some good may come out of her suffering.
If I were with the families of the police officers, I would not offer them advice to lessen the loss. I would simply be a comforting, physical presence and offer a hug and a shoulder to lean on.
That is what they need right now as they start this long, treacherous journey of recovery. I pray the families and friends of the four police officers will find a way over time to rise above their grief and loss. I hope they lift up the memories of their loved ones high,like a bright light for all to see.