City officials here just voted to torch a house where a little girl died. She was seven. A registered sex offender lived at the house. He lured her inside, sexually molested her, and then killed her. He’s now in prison. It was a horrible tragedy, and I can’t imagine the pain that the family is going through. Still — understanding their horrible loss — I don’t agree with their insistence that the house be burned to the ground.
As newlyweds, my friend and her husband bought a small home where an older gentleman had killed himself. He was actually a family friend. One day, he sat down on his living room couch and blasted himself in the face with a shotgun. He left behind a wife, an ex-wife, three kids, and several grandkids — not to mention many friends and extended family members. He was very loved, even if he didn’t think so.
I visited their new home on a dinner invitation about a year after the incident. It was wonderful to see both of them, as well as their five-year-old son and the newest addition to the family — another healthy, bouncing baby boy. Chatting on their couch — situated in the same spot where this man’s furniture once stood — I asked if they ever thought about the sadness that once existed in their home. And that’s when my friend surprised me.
Let There Be Light
It turns out the man was her family friend, as well. Living in a small town, this was a not a huge surprise. But I was surprised when she told me that they had specifically chosen the home because of what had happened. Not for prurient reasons, of course, but because, as she said, they knew they could bring joy back to the scene of such horrible sorrow. She said they did it for themselves as much as the people who became their new neighbors. They weren’t trying to be heroes or anything. They just didn’t want to let sadness win.
Nothing Lasts Forever
There is potential for positive outcomes even in tragic situations. As difficult as it may seem at the time, there is always, always a silver lining to every cloud. Rainbows only appear after the gloom of a storm. And countless other clichés and affirmations I could list here, but the general point is that life is a continuum full of peaks and valleys. The journey may not always be pleasant, but it can always be memorable. It is our job to fill it with enough positive memories to counteract the dour ones.
by Cindy Simone
Residential Life Magazine