Friday was a really dark day for me and a lot of people I’m close to. On Thursday night, a man opened fire on a showing of Trainwreck in Lafayette. He killed two young women and injured several other innocent people. He had no known motive and he shot himself when the police entered the theater.
We woke up in Cannes, France with texts from loved ones and messages of heartbreak flooding our social media sites.
We were stunned. I was speechless. My community that I always considered so precious and safe was struck by a horrible tragedy that you never dreamed of happening to your home. Over the years, we’ve seen several tragedies like this one, but when I saw the word “Shooting” next to the name of the town I grew up in all I could think was NOT MY TOWN.
Reagan and I sat in the hotel room all day listening to CNN – the only English news channel we could find. We waited impatiently for all of our friends and family halfway across the world to wake up and send us some form of comfort. Finally, come 7 AM in Louisiana, we could hear the names of the victims and join in with our fellow community members as our hearts broke together. The whole time we watched the news repeat the same things over and over, we kept saying how much we hated seeing our city shown to the world like this.
We were across the ocean in a picturesque beach town that was continuing on as if nothing was amiss while our worlds were at a stop.
One of my first thoughts in beginning to cope with this tragedy was to reach out to my Camp Kesem family. This is a community that I consider one of my most important support systems. Instantly, I received words of love and support from them and I felt more sure that I was going to get through this.
Later that night, I was in my hotel room checking emails and scrolling through updates in Facebook when I was struck with my second tragedy of the day. One of the amazing guys preparing to be a camp counselor this summer at Camp Kesem passed away early Friday morning.
He was someone who always kept everyone smiling and we were all so excited to see how incredible he would be with our kids at camp. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Two communities that I considered my support, my safe havens were both shaken into tragedy in less than 24 hours. It felt like my heart was sinking it hurt so much.
But what I learned yesterday is that in wake of both of these tragedies, my communities are stronger than ever. In our weakness, we are finding strength and hope.
To my Lafayette community and to the families and friends of Maycie and Jillian – we will become an even stronger community from this. We will again and always be known for our food, our culture and, most importantly, our love.
To my Kesem family and to Josh (Archer), our love and support will never cease. Archer, camp won’t be the same without you and we will always miss you. To the rest of my family, all of the CK love to you. I don’t know what I would do without you.