I woke up this morning to the AWFUL news out of Aurora, Co. that a gunman had opened fire at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, killing 12 and injuring 50.
Of those killed was Jessica Redfield, an aspiring sports journalist. Jessica’s real last name was Chawi, but she chose to go by Redfield for this reason. The outpouring of grief over the loss of this extremely talented and beautiful 24-year old is gut-wrenching to read.
What makes Jessica’s death even harder to stomach is that last month, a gut feeling led her out of the food court at Eaton Centre in Toronto, where just minutes later a man opened fire and killed two people (side note: I would respectfully request that my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces never go back there ever again, please and thanks).
While I read her last blog entry about this incident, I am fighting back tears.
This excerpt is especially moving:
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
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.
I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.
I would say she absolutely was NOT overreacting. She experienced something awful that day, and embraced fully the life she was living. For that event to be life-changing is normal. It only makes me more upset we will never be able to experience her success and potential.
Why does it take senseless tragedies like the one early this morning for us to realize how lucky we are?
Why did Jessica, who escaped one tragedy, have to fall victim to another?
Why are 11 other people dead, including a SIX-YEAR OLD CHILD??
I am sitting here, unable to fathom why this deranged lunatic would go into a theater and open fire on innocent people.
In reading an updated article in the Tribune, I stumbled across the following:
“This is one of the most horrific nights I’ve ever had to work,” said Comilla Sasson, an emergency doctor at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora where 22 patients ranging in age from three months to 45 years arrived in private cars, police cars and ambulances.
So often we become stressed at work or and whether I remind myself or a friend I always say that the stress will come and go but at least we’re not saving lives. If I make a mistake at work, no one dies. I am not called upon to deal with life-threatening injuries and my heart also goes out to the ER staff that worked towards saving the injured.
It has been very hard for me to go about my day today as more details of the event unfolds. I am struggling to concentrate as my heart breaks for the family and friends of those who were killed. And I feel helpless.
All I can do is tell my family and friends how much I love them, each and every day. The next time I sit at a White Sox game or go on a long run with Katie or simply meet friends for brunch, I need to stop and realize how lucky I am to be sitting, running, eating, breathing and loving.
I am urging everyone else to do the same. Take a day to remind yourself of everything you have to be grateful for. Do it for Jessica, because she no longer can.