After reading some of the news articles and the realization of a tragic symmetry between the Eaton Centre shooting (Toronto, ON) and last night’s shooting in Aurora, CO, I felt compelled to write something.
It’s horrifying to me that anyone could ever be in a mindset to do harm to others, let alone open fire in a crowded movie theatre. Quite frankly, it makes me sick.
As I read some different articles related to this horrific series of events, a symmetry between both shootings became evident. One of last night’s victims was Jessica Ghawi (or professionally known as Jessica Redfield) who was present at shootings in Eaton Centre, and in fact blogged about her experience here. As I read through her post and reflected on last night’s events, several aspects resonated with me.
The first is that life is fragile. No one in that theatre (except the lunatic) expected events to unfold as they did. It’s heart breaking to think that there are people who will never speak with or see their loved ones again. It seems that since I became a father, this realization hurts me more than it ever has. The feeling of hurt for others existed prior to fatherhood, but now my mind draws parallels to my life and my stomach aches. I don’t want to imagine what it would feel like to not see my wife, my daughter, my parents or siblings (in-laws included) and extended family again. Even as I write this my hands tremble with the thought of it.
I read a post from Jessica’s brother (here) which outlines the events of last night’s tragedy through a mutual friend’s perspective (who was present). This just goes to show how quickly life can change.
A second resonating aspect comes from a quote in Jessica’s blog:
“I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given”
Life is a blessing and because it can change so quickly, we need to make sure we live it every day. In the hustle of our daily life it is easy to take aspects for granted, to glaze over and go through the motions. We need to challenge ourselves to make the most of every moment. I’m guilty of this too: it’s takes a conscious effort to live in the moment. I am thankful for the gifts and the opportunities I have been given and I only hope I live up to them.
I’m sure it’s not uncommon for people to gain this perspective after a tragedy, then life gets a hold of you and things go back to “normal”. The sad reality is that tragedy happens every day around the world: people’s lives are affected and relationships are ended all too soon.
Life is precious and we need to make sure we squeeze out every ounce. Hug, laugh, love, smile and be grateful for what we have. I commit to myself and to my family to give and get more. And I think we all can.
Thanks for reading.