It’s Not Supposed to Happen this Way …
My older son, Reat, is watching from Heaven. Murdered by a white supremacist on April 13, 2014, only seconds after his grandfather and minutes before another woman, Reat lost his life tragically at age 14. (Lukas was 12.)
Section 135, Row 13 – Seats 13, 14, and 15.
I am about to immerse myself in a level of excitement I haven’t felt since…hmmm, I can’t recall…because I am so excited. In Miami, Florida for Super Bowl LIV with Len and Lukas (spouse and son) we are going to soak in the sights, sounds, craziness, and hopefully a Kansas City Chiefs WIN!
Bittersweet is a word that comes to mind. I will enjoy today and especially, the game on Sunday – I have even written goals about being present and remembering these moments. I want to truly enjoy these next two days with my family, friends, and every other fan who loves the game of football – most especially, the KC Chiefs.
Why then, is it not supposed to happen this way?
Joy and happiness were ripped from our hearts and souls as our lives were shattered.
The tragedy that took the lives of Kobe Bryant with his daughter, Gianna, John, and Keri Altobelli and their teenage daughter Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton; Christina Mauser, who was an assistant coach on the girls’ team Kobe Bryant coached and on which the young girls played; and pilot Ara Zobayan – courtesy The Washington Post – rings true to how life is not supposed to happen this way.
Children should not die before their parents. Good people should live long lives. I know these statements, too. I feel them, deep in my heart every day.
I know the pain these families feel and will feel for years to come. It is true, their lives are forever altered, and their journey will be difficult – filled with sadness, anger, depression, and many transitions.
I also know they can learn to find peace and joy in their lives.
One minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time. The sun will keep rising and so will we.
I learned to find joy with the help of my faith in God, family, friends, and many, many strangers praying for us.
Even now, almost 6 years after our tragedy, I appreciate new people in my life acknowledging the tragedy and the loss with a simple, “I am so sorry”.
No one can fix my circumstance. No one can fix the circumstances of the families taken in any tragedy. You can grieve with us. You can offer letters, you can cry openly, you can pray for peace in our hearts.
There is no time limit to grief.
There is also no rule dictating when joy will find a way back into your heart.
As with every day since the tragedy and certainly in most unusual circumstances, the fact that I will be sitting in row 13 and seat 13 is not at all lost on me. My father and Reat have sent more messages from heaven than I can count and this one is as important as the rest.
Super Bowl LIV will happen.
I will be there to experience it with tears of sadness and joy.