never thought those words would be swirling around in my head in conjunction with my little Deep South hometown
Eclectic, Alabama - population as of the last census, 1001.
2 of those people are my parents, on Main Street.
another 2 are my faux parents, over on Ellis-Lazenby.
another 4 are my favorite friend (honorary brother) and his family, on Fleahop.
at least a hundred of those people are my dearly loved ones.
at least another couple hundred are people I know and care about the well-being of, am friends with on Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, say nice things to about their kids, their pets, their birthdays, their anniversaries, their new business ventures, their new cars, their new homes, the passing of their parents or grandparents, their selfies, their new jobs, their divorces, their job losses, their car accidents, their second marriages, their miscarriages, their favorite new novels, the flowers their husbands brought them, the hail damage to their garage, and on
the Internet has made it possible to remain "friends" with our loved ones who are far away, without having to hand write letters to hundreds of people, print and mail pictures of our homes and dogs and children and new hairdos all over the world, thank goodness.
we graduated high school with you, or we were in kindergarten with you - maybe you were our VERY FIRST best friend (looking at you Jennifer B!) or our college roomie for just one year (love you Tiff!), or we baby-sat you 20 years ago and now YOU have babies (owch, Osgoode girls)...
or we were next door neighbors at one point in time, or you are our mom's life-long best friend and we like to keep up with what you and our honorary cousins are doing these days, or you're our ACTUAL cousin but you live on the other side of the planet because you're in the military now.
whomever you are, we care. and the constant ..."contact"...means we care more than people might realize.
my high school friend April - not even 2 weeks ago as I'm typing this ridiculously difficult ...thing...
was shot in the head and killed.
so was her husband, Mike.
both in my graduating class (ECHS 1997, holla)
I didn't know him, apparently he only did 12th grade at our school? so I don't have any memories of him.
April was good people.
I spent 6 years in the same buildings with her, day after day, week after week - and she was good people.
I haven't seen her since we graduated, as far as I can remember.
Our 20 year high school reunion is going on, right this minute. This whole weekend will be filled with people seeing each other and catching up, hugging, eating, laughing, crying.
April and Mike would've been there, as part of our graduating class who stayed in our tiny hometown and made a life there.
but instead, they were both buried last Saturday.
They'd be at the homecoming game tonight, cheering their middle son on as he played football for their high school alma mater.
...oh man, I'm going to miss April. Her kind words on Facebook, her fun photos on Instagram, her uplifting and interesting Pinterest pins...
two of the very last things she pinned on Pinterest - amidst a lot of yummy looking recipes, workout moves for a great butt, and BOMB haircuts -
and my heart breaks. She had the hugest of hearts.
among her last Instagram photos -
and my heart breaks a little more.
So...writing about it is slightly cathartic, but my actual point here is...
April and Mike have two younger sons - one middle school and one high school aged - who now have to negotiate life without their parents - and possibly without their older brother.
They will likely become the financial responsibility of their other family members - uncles, grandparents, aunts, everyone who loves them and wants to help take care of them in the dark aftermath of their parents' untimely death.
The Owenby's and Holtons will need whatever help we can give them. We - meaning their smaller circle...the broader, larger circle of people who don't know them that well ...and the even larger circle of strangers who don't know them at all, who have never even HEARD of Eclectic Alabama, but who love US and know we love THEM...and so on.
If you pray, they could use prayers. for months and years to come. If you light candles, light one for them. If you meditate, focus on their health and peace for a bit maybe.
and if you feel like skipping movies and Starbucks for a month, donate that money to help their family cope with expenses they never in a million years dreamed they'd have to cope with:
Click here to donate...https://www.gofundme.com/holtonboys
share the link if you can or can't donate actual money. Casting the net wider will help, I promise.