Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Fork in the Road

We got our alumni magazine yesterday. In the back was a special section about the Gainesville murders, which happened 17 years ago this fall. People had written letters about the events and feelings of the time. I don't like to dwell on or even think about those particular weeks, because it was simply horrible and hit far too close to home. I almost passed right by the article. However, I was struck by one letter, in which the writer mentioned that her roommate's parents had taken their daughter out of school and moved her back to West Palm Beach as a result of the murders. I don't know if she ever came back. Many students didn't. I couldn't help wondering about those people. What kind of turns did their lives take as a result of those events, which were totally outside of their control? What if my parents had taken me out of school? What would I be doing now and how would my life be different? For one thing, I would probably not be married to the person I am married to and, as a result, would not have the little girls that I have! I think of all the great times I was lucky enough to have in college, experiences which shaped me and which are dear to me beyond measure. To imagine all that, lost, because of one evil person's actions... That is mind-blowing. Of course, I guess there is the argument that the people who left were supposed to leave. Life unfolds the way it's meant to. Maybe that woman met her future spouse at the Palm Beach Gardens Mall. Maybe she had a great experience at some other college. I hope so. When you think about all that was taken in those few days, to imagine that it just goes on and on's too much. Do you ever stop asking: Why? And do you ever forget to be amazed (or maybe horrified) by how one person's life can touch so many others?

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