If you grew up in a small town like mine, you already know the things I'm about to say in this article. The most remarkable thing I've seen from living in a small town is how much everyone feels everything we go through together. When the football team wins a tough game, we all jump the fences and rush the fields and jump on their backs like we are a part of the team too. We come together for charity events and Relay For Life or when we find out one of our own is in trouble. One of the most remarkable things I've seen living in a small town is how we deal with loss, with grief, and with pain.
For my community, this has been one of the hardest months I can ever remember. We have lost three young, very special lives within three weeks of each other. While these tragic losses have been surrounded by so many good things like sports wins, proms, and graduations in times of loss the bad always seems to outweigh the good.
Loss when you're young is hard. You don't expect people to be taken away from you so suddenly, so soon. You don't expect the most vibrant among us, the ones with the contagious smiles and laughs to be the ones that go before their time. While all loss hurts, I think those are the ones that hurt the most because you are not only grieving for the memories of that person but you grieve for all that could have been. You grieve for the people that they could have been and would have been if only they had been granted more time. And you grieve for the people that haven't even met them yet because you know they would love them as much as you did.
Small towns experience and feel the most pain out of all the places I've seen. Because we all hurt together because besides losing someone ourselves, we have to see all the other people we love and care about lose someone too. Our love for them in these times grows stronger because of the pain we all feel. Pain makes you love more. Pain strips away hardness and walls that you've built around your hurt. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you raw. Pain and loss will soften you and will make your love for those still with you grow stronger.
Small towns have their own heartbeat. They have their own life and breath. And just like people they have their ups and downs, their good times and bad. Just like people, they come through hard times stronger, better and more loving.
To all we have lost, thank you for making goodbyes so hard. We will love you all forever.
To my FM family, we will get through these hard times.