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March 29, 2021

Boulder Strong links us through grocery stores and sorrow

The King Sooper shooting in Boulder has impacted us all. Once Again, mass shootings have stolen our security. The senseless loss of life has changed the existence of ten families and all of us forever.

Searching for ways to honor the light these victims were to their family, friends, community, and humanity leaves us feeling helpless. We carry the pain of their deaths in our hearts and minds, which leave us feeling vulnerable, angered and frustrated, violated and betrayed, saddened and bereaved, which means to be robbed.

We go to grocery stores regularly; sometimes, it’s just for a gallon of milk, other times to fill our carts for the appetites of growing children. Maybe it’s just cold medicine, a prescription, or diapers, cupcakes for birthdays, or cheese-plate for happy hour; the day was too long to cook, and we run into the store to grab soup. A trip to the grocery store is always about an event in the future, a moment of necessity, anticipation, joy, or just survival. It is a trip that qualifies and quantifies our lives.

Going to the grocery is a common denominator of our human existence in this country; perhaps,  going to the grocery store was the only normative activity we had during the past year. They were our people. The essential workers have held this norm and kept us feed at the risk of exposure to Covid-19, showing-up fearing contagion, but never a shooting.

The reality is any one of us could have been the slain evokes fear at our core. Tragically, these deceased members of our community did exactly what we all have done. Collectively, we have been robbed of innocence, security, and normalcy within an ordinary routine. Many of us have been in the exact same store, for the exact same reasons, just on a different day, or even just moments before—the safe space which houses our every need, bloodied by hate.

While there is hope that the pandemic will leave us, sadly, there is less hope the guns that have slain so many will ever leave. The accumulation of losses throughout the past year has compounded our grief. Too often, we dismiss our sorrow and rush toward hope.

We dismiss our pain out of sympathy for others who have lost more. Indeed, many people all over the world have it worse than us. That is indisputable. However, we have experienced many negative changes and losses in our lives. It is ok to feel sad and feel as if you need permission to lament. Whenever reality is turned upside down, our headspace, attitudes, and anxieties are, too, turned upside-down. It takes time, support, and courage to reset and get right-side up.

There is strength in naming our losses and putting feelings of sadness, anger, and insecurity into words. Naming feels scary as if spoken words make feelings more real. However, unspoken words have too much power and take over our minds in unhealthy directions. We need space to speak, feel and express our pain before we can heal. We need each other for social and emotional support.

Now is the time to lean into the humanity of each other and take care of each other. Together we walk tenderly and gently in this darkness toward the healing light. The light will eventually come as a new dawn, but shadows of darkness are never far behind. Walk gently and tenderly with one another - don’t step upon the shadows that fall behind our light.

Together our love becomes a voice for change, demanding justice. Our power to live life fearlessly, our voices lifted in chorus, and our passionate desire to be heard will not be robbed from us. Love will win.

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