I've lived my life in big cities and small towns. Since I've been married I've lived in the country, outside of a fairly good sized town. Not a big city, not really a small town. It is a college town, so the population fluctuates depending on the time of the year and the number of students who are in town at any one time. Still, at the core it is a pretty small town.
My kids grew up here and so did my husband. Since I was the outsider, I've had to get to know people over time… my husband still knows more people in the area than I ever will. My kids probably know more of the younger generation than I do, too.
When things happen in our little community the news spreads like wildfire. Especially bad news. Especially shocking news.
It has been a summer of death… for the nation, for people my family know… I don't know how many people my daughter has had touch her life this summer that are gone, but too many for one season.
On Tuesday my husband called me at work with the news that a man who was a former neighbor, farmer, friend, and who had a couple of children who were in some of my kids' classes… shot himself dead. Another death this summer.
His family had been farming in Iowa for years, then in Iowa and Texas for a few years before they decided to pack it in and move the whole operation to Texas. That was about five or six years ago. We'd heard various rumors over time… that he'd quit farming and was selling RV's. That he'd gotten some bulldozers and gone to help clean up after Katrina. Who knows what the truth was? He had a problem with alchohol many years ago, and don't even really know if he ever got a handle on that. Anything could have been the catalist. He just didn't seem the type. He seemed too determined to be rich and have it all and worked like a dog to get there – working his whole family as well.
My heart goes out to his family. They worked so hard to make this life a good one. They tried to help him when he was troubled and seemed to be a very close family. I unfortunately can imagine the hell they must be going through.
This has been one really stressful year… I'm ready for it to be done now.