"Life changes in the instant . . . and life as you know it ends."
Joan Didion from the first lines of The Year of Magical Thinking.
Our nation is once again thrown into a state of collective mourning. We are all stunned by the events which occurred over the weekend in Colorado. We heard in disbelief that innocent and unsuspecting movie goers were gunned down by a lone man. These were people like us who had gone out to enjoy the opening night of the new Batman movie. These were people like us who live busy, productive lives. These were people like us who look forward to the future.
What we witnessed, however, was quite different. We saw chaos and terror, but we also saw people who became heroes in an instant. We heard about people who shielded their friends, family members and complete strangers and saved lives. We heard about people who rendered first aid, never leaving the injured person's side and saved lives. We heard about people who came to transport the injured and saved lives. Out of the chaos, people reacted with compassion, with caring and with love.
We are all deeply touched by these events. We are all holding on more tightly to those we love because events like these, remind us of our own losses. We hurt as a father holds up a picture of his son. We weep as a mother recognizes her daughter among the injured. Together we try to make sense from this seemingly senseless act.
We hold each other more gently as we ponder the fragility of life.