My student at Hope Ministries has lost at least four family members in the few months that I have known her. She has been sad, especially so on her birthday when she particularly missed her mother. But this week a tragic death has been overwhelming to her. Her cousin's three year old grand-daughter ran out into traffic and was killed. The funeral will be today in Gary, Indiana and my student will be there with her extended family.
I lay awake for a long time last night thinking and praying about this tragedy, not only about the horrible death but also about the contrast in life-styles between those who have and those who have-not. The Chicago Tribune reported part of the story this way:
Diana Hobbs, DaVea's grandmother who lives in the 500 block of Jackson Street, said her daughter and DaVea lived with her. "I was at work and it was about 3:30 p.m. and DaVea walked to the store with my godson."
Hobbs said her godson who went with DeVea to the Family Dollar is 12. .
"She got home and had to have Family Dollar chips or something every day," said Hobbs. "She was such a bright child. She's very smart. She loved chocolate."
I think about my own grandchildren coming home and being greeted happily by their parents or their nanny. The nanny prepares a snack for them and they sit down at the table to enjoy it together. My daughter says her 8 year old is almost never on his own which she says may also not be a good thing but it is safer.
I grieve for the grandmother, for the mother, for the 12 year old child who was with DeVea, for my student who has suffered so much loss and for the truck driver who hit her and fell on his knees in prayer afterwards. He is not being charged.
During the night, the scene would not leave my mind. A busy street, a liquor store parking lot, an omnipresent Family Dollar store, traffic cones for construction, and a child letting go of a hand and darting around the cones into the road. For years while teaching GED classes I was aware of so many difficult lives; since retirement I have been sheltered from much of that. Volunteering at Hope Ministries has given me a glimpse of that world again.