May 31, 2019. They didn’t know they would die.
They didn’t know. That tragic day would be their last day alive. They woke-up and went about their usual morning routine. Coffee, shower, breakfast. Feed the kids. Feed the dog. Kiss the spouse good-by. Drive, walk, or take the city bus to work.
They didn’t know. The Virginia Beach mass shooting in the United States left 12 people dead—innocent human beings that died unexpectedly. Photographs of the 12 victims can be found on various news websites. The 12 people had family, friends, and relationships. They had daily lives. Four people were wounded. Four lives forever changed. Survivors.
They didn’t know. Trauma. Tragedy. How can the human mind process such a horror? Shock. So surreal. How much can a human heart bare?
They didn’t know. Eleven of the victims were city employees. Another was a contractor seeking a permit at the municipal center. Devastation. Disaster.
They didn’t know. A deranged employee. A cowardice coworker. Twelve precious people gone to soon. A city left in turmoil. A nation in mourning. Disbelief. Distress.
They didn’t know. Twelve people—mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, coworkers. Human beings with purpose and passion.
They didn’t know. They would not be returning home at the end of the day. Empty beds.
Twelve caskets. Twelve funerals. Twelve graves. Heartache. Heartbreak. Weeping. Weeping. Weeping. Emotional pain encased in each teardrop. A river of tears for 12 human beings.
Grief. But so much more—lives forever changed for those left behind. How does the living carry on when a member of humanity murders loved ones? How do you make sense of the senseless? Safety is shattered. Security is shattered.
I looked at each photograph. Each of the 12 victims once breathed. They loved, laughed, and lived. They cried. They are a part of humanity.
We look to God for answers. But there are no answers now. Someday there will be answers.
There is no closure. Closure is a myth—a tidy word meant to comfort the living. A sense of loss remains. Nonetheless, the hurt becomes less and less as time produces a scab—then a scar. But there is no final healing—a future day on earth when all is well for the 12 families and people left behind. Birthdays and death days hold memories.
We carry on because we must carry on. Hope sustains the weary soul. The grave holds the body, but not the spirit.
How could they have known?
Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in US.