Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thinking About Cassandra Floyd

For some reason, she stumbled into my thoughts today. What happened really was unthinkable. Undoubtedly, the enormity of her tragic, violent death is recognized by countless people. And like so many, I ache for her mother and father and have often wondered how they have managed over the years. I've also fathomed how I, a parent, would cope if faced with such devastating circumstances. Is there a time when a mother thinks about the death of her child a mere twenty-five times in any given day? Is that any improvement over the year before when one quietly, inwardly grieved at clockwork intervals, syncing life's cadence to a predictable drone of rhythmic, inevitable sadness? Or the year it happened, when it surely consumed every moment, every thought, every breath. I can only begin to imagine. Some say that the pain never really goes away. It just becomes something different, diffused through a prism of routine living. Just less focused so that maybe, it doesn't hurt quite so much as it did the day before.

As a mother, I can't shake the thought of a four year-old girl losing both of her parents. Ethan is now four, going on five, and he really needs me for so many things. Beyond the obvious stuff, he is out of sorts if we're apart for too long. I know that he craves my attention on everything from super heroes to lower-case letters. My opinions shape his thoughts. Without fail, he knows that I will replace his kicked-off covers before I go to bed. He trusts both Jim and I will keep his world safe and to be there each and every morning. How does a child awake to learn that these basic promises could not be kept and that her whole world is just gone?

Thankfully we take comfort in the resiliency of children. After all, this little girl comes from impressive stock. While I wasn't close to Cassandra, and only crossed paths with her in social situations throughout high school and college, I remember some very admirable qualities about her. Despite her origins of affluence and privilege, she was not frivolous nor undisciplined. High achievement came naturally to her. And was she smart. She excelled in math and science at a time when it still wasn't "cool" for girls to do so. Even as a teenager, she carried an air of calm authority about her. We all knew that Cassandra would get an "A" on that honors Chemistry test. Her chosen career in medicine was certainly a natural progression.

Tonight I pray for Cassandra's daughter, and for the family members who now care for her. I have got to believe that she will be OK and the legacy she has inherited will only be a sad but surmountable footnote in an otherwise happy life. She's got so many people cheering her on.

To Cassandra's parents, please know that so many of us think of you often and pray that you have known some peace with the passage of time. I hope there is comfort in knowing the esteem so many of us continue to feel for your daughter's memory.

As for Cassandra, may the Lord keep her well and loved beyond measure.

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