Fear and Pain In My Back Yard

I live in Westminster, CO.  I have 3 daughters, 7, 5, 2.

For most of you, I’m sure you’ve been following the tragic story of Jessica Ridgeway, the 10 year old girl who was abducted on her way to school a little over a week ago. She was found dead and dismembered just few miles from where she was taken.

Jessica lived in and was abducted from Westminster.  We didn’t know her, but I can tell you it has rocked our community, as it has the country.

I don’t understand how something like this happens.  I have had a very difficult time processing the horrific nature of this act. I have heard my daughters mother cry in fear and in pain for poor Jessica.  I’ve found myself angry and wanting to lashout at an unidentified assailant. I’ve found myself scared because I don’t want this tragedy to turn me into a fearful parent. Nothing good ever comes from operating in fear.  I find myself battling horrific thoughts, as I imagine the horrifying last moments of poor Jessica’s life. Imagining the fear, pain, and confusion she must have experienced continually floods my thoughts. The entire story has been overwhelming and knowing it happened in my back yard has only made it worse.

My heart goes out to Jessica’s mom. I have put myself in her position and the pain is unbearable.  I can’t do it for more than a moment without feeling physically sick to my stomach. The pain she is going through will take unbelievable strength to overcome. It’s been a surreal week in my community. I don’t have the skills to accurately describe what this community is feeling or the tones and emotions present in the conversations.

What I do know is in light of this tragedy, the bitterness of the election seems awfully silly. Worrying about how quickly the economy was going to recover really didn’t matter. I found myself hugging my daughters a little harder. Kissing them a little more and being a little more conscience of where they are.

It’s been a horrible week for my community, our state and our country.  I don’t know how we heal from these things.  It is my hope that this is the last child abduction ever.  It’s unfortunate this hope will never come true, but I will hope it none-the-less.

There is a great organization whose mission is to protect and defend our innocent children. The National Center Missing and Exploited Children is a fantastic organization who is completely committed to preventing this from happening.  Check out their site.  They have great resources on how to protect your children and prevent this awful tragedy from happening again.

There is more to life than sales, money, career advancement, politics, or where we are going on vacation.  Family and our children trump all those things if we let it.. With that said, my daughter just asked me to help her with a project, so I’m out.