This heart wrenching random cache of violence has been etched into my mind and my heart for days now.
I have close family members in this area, which adds the startling reality that had a few minor circumstances simply been tweaked this way or that, I could easily be grieving one of my own, as well as the twelve whose lives were so senselessly taken.
So many images are unshakable: A woman clutching her baby to her bosom, a scratch on her cheek from the mayhem. The smoke had just cleared, yet she was remarkably calm, stunned yet aware enough to feel relief - her child was in her arms, both of them whole.
Others were not as fortunate.
A man who had reported to the area school where family members of known movie attendees had been told to gather, was seen desperately looking for his son, who had attended the premiere. His understandable anger turned to utter despair as he found out that his son was among the twelve victims who had lost their lives in the mayhem.
The image of this strong burly man grief stricken as he found out his son was gone, will never leave me.
Apparently there were many acts of heroism that night; one young man, his peaceful friendly face in a family photograph lingering in my minds eye, apparently dove at the armored shooter, in an effort to shield his girlfriend. His girlfriend survived with a bullet wound to her ankle, but the courageous young man, with the easy smile, died of multiple gunshot injuries. He was twenty four years old..
Another young man, just out of college, pushed his girlfriend under a theater seat as the shooting began. He too perished at the scene from Gunshot wounds..
And a third young man, quickly lay on top of his girlfriend's body, as the shooting began, not only saving her life in the process, by blocking gunshots that he sustained, but remaining calm enough to assuage her fears in those last moments, according to the crying young girl, he kept whispering " shhh it will be alright ..."
My feelings about these heroic actions, are a juxtaposed mixture of awe, admiration and a deep grief over their reflexive selflessness and courage at such tender ages.
There were many heroes in Colorado that fateful night; some saved the lives of strangers with quick action, some taking bullets themselves in the process: As more information is gathered more stories will be related and we will honor every one of them..
For now, our prayers for the survivors, some clinging to life in area hospitals, are desperately needed.
Besides reaching out to the survivors and the families of the victims, through letter and emails. I always suggest prayer, I have witnessed it's collective power, especially when more than one person gathers to pray for someone's healing.
No matter who your God, or your belief system is , prayer is a pure practice and its power is undeniable - it comes from goodness,compassion and love..
This is not about religion - it is about humanity and tapping into those qualities that supersede everything that is swirling around our day to day lives, We quickly see it's meaninglessness when tragedy's like this happen.
Godspeed to every single survivor and thier families.. Rest in Peace brothers and sisters who perished you will forever be heroes all.