Sometimes bad things happen

This is how I explained the mass shooting in Highland park on July 4th 2022 to my children.

As the residents of Highland park got ready to celebrate the annual Independence day parade , my family chose to go grab a coffee and take a walk up to the park before going to the parade instead. This is the only reason why we were not at the exact spot of the shooting. Why we made this decision I will never know . I guess we just had a guardian angel looking out for us. As much as I know we shouldn’t dwell on what could of happened to our family , it’s hard not to think about it. The kiddies and I enjoyed an ice-cream in the exact spot the attack took place just 3 days before.

The moment my husband got the call that morning , he came over to me and very calmly explained that we needed to head back to the house. All we really knew at that point was that there had been a shooting . My body took over. My hands started sweating, the tears were streaming down my face . We walked home as quickly as possible without worrying the kids We didn’t know any details except that their was danger and we needed to get “home” . The noise of the sirens still makes me sick to my stomach but we are the lucky ones.

We spend the day locked up in the house while the man-hunt for the shooter took place. I had moments when I saw a reflection and my heart skipped a beat. I was on edge . By 6pm in the evening the announcement was made that the shooter had been arrested. I was so grateful to know that I could tell my kids that the bad man was gone . That they were safe and be able to believe it. “Mom why do bad things happen? ” my son asked. I honestly still don’t know how to answer that question.

Seven people lost their lives in this tragedy. A two year boy lost both his parents and an eight year old boy suffered a severe spinal injury . We are the lucky ones. One of my daughters friends was in the parade that morning. What that poor child was going through emotionally, following that tragic day was hard to explain. He was scared to leave the house and scared to sleep. My heart still breaks for her , yet we are the lucky ones.

Through all this heartache something truly amazing happened. An entire community came together. Leaving flowers at the various memorial places. Writing notes of strength in the shop windows . Everywhere I went following that week were the words ‘Hp strong!” “Stronger together!”

The community raised money for the effected families . They made meals for those who couldn’t. They offered their assistance where ever they could. It was truly beautiful to see how many good people there are still in this world .

Yes , sometimes bad things happen , there are so bad people in this world but there are also so many good people. This community has shown me how kindness can make something so sad and hard , bearable.

If you have been through a violent or traumatic event. Please seek professional help. Lean on friends and family and never forget to be KIND.