Thursday, October 23, 2008

tragedy...or just part of life?

This morning, as I struggled to get out of my warm, cozy bed, I suddenly sat straight up and shook off my exhaustion. I realized in that moment that I am so lucky. I got to wake up this morning. I get to wake up every morning. And Rick Bailey doesn't.

Richard Bailey was shot in the head and killed this week in Albany, NY, just blocks from his off-campus house and the downtown campus of the University of Albany. He was 22 years old and eight weeks away from graduating college and becoming a New York City Police Officer. His life was cut short. Way too short. While Bailey wasn't a good friend of mine, I did grow up with him. We went through school together from Gardiner's Avenue Elementary School to General Douglas MacArthur High School. He was athletic and funny and popular. Everyone knew Bailey, and he knew everyone.

So why him? I don't know. There are no suspects; no motives. But more in a fate sort of way, why him? If he had left his friend's house 15 minutes later, would he still be alive today? If he had been walking with someone else, would the bullet have missed? Or was it just meant to be that this happened to him? In times like this I think it's tough to figure it all out. I try to believe everything happens for a reason, but when something this horrible and seemingly tragic occurs, I have a really difficult time justifying that philosophy. Was this in fact natural? All part of God's plan? I don't know if I can genuinely believe that, but I'm trying because I feel sad. So sad. Not only because a great person I knew was killed, but also because it seems like it really could have been anyone. Brian goes to the University of Albany and lives there. It could have been him. Vic walks home on the weekends in Morristown. It could have been her. Katie and Jill were just in LA, where they walked places. It could have been them. It could have been you. And it could have been me.

I'm not condoning staying inside all the time, and being hyper cautious to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. I almost feel the opposite. Life is so short, and we need to live as much as possible every single day. We need to tell those who mean something to us that we love them. We need to smile and laugh, and help others to do the same. We need to get out of bed every morning, because we can. Because we're alive. Because we're the lucky ones.

My heart goes out to Bailey's family and friends. He will be missed and never forgotten.

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