Just over a week ago a tragedy struck our quiet little community.
It started out as any other slippery day. Checking the news to see which schools were closed, (all of them), cozying up with the girls and staying inside. There was a reason I looked at the local online "newspaper", though I don't remember what that was anymore. I saw two headlines that put me into a panic.
"Route ## closed for fatal crash- Under investigation" and
"(My local town) sander flips; driver injured."
Now, logically I knew those were two separate headlines, but I read them together and my brain processed them together. The local plow truck drivers are family friends of mine, and my heart jumped into my throat thinking that one of them was in a fatal crash. I read through the articles as fast as I could, and I was relieved that the plow truck driver was (injured, but) okay. I was still nervous, wondering who might have been in the fatal accident and sent up a little prayer.
As it was a dreary, snowy day, I spent a little too much time hovering over my computer. Checking and re-checking the online newspaper to see if any more news had been posted. And as usual, the Facebook reports started coming in. "My thoughts and prayers go out to the Wright family." Messages started coming in "Did you see what so-and-so posted? Do you think they mean this person or that person?" And then the confirmation on the newspaper website.
She was a wife. She was a local preschool teacher. She was a mother. She was a daughter. She was a friend. She was an active community member. She was a mother. I kept going back to that. She was a mother. Of a newly turned one year old. And it broke my heart over and over all day long.
I didn't know her well. We met a little over a year ago at a mommy play date group. If I remember right, she was on maternity leave, as she was getting ready to have little PQ. We ran into each other a handful of times over the next year, and we chatted on Facebook from time to time about various daycare and preschool stuff. We actually probably chatted more on Facebook than we ever did in person, so sometimes when I was out and about in town I didn't always register who she was at first. It would take me a minute to put a name with her face. But the moment she saw me she would smile, greet me by name and ask how I was doing. She had the kind of smile that welcomed you in immediately.
And so suddenly she's gone.
I feel like one key difference between most men and women (not all) is that men tend to sympathize, but women are more apt to empathize. I think it's the reason women cry at movies, books and weddings. When we hear or see a story, we put ourselves inside it. We can't help but think of what would happen if we were in their shoes.
I just kept thinking over and over and over of that little baby girl, wondering why everyone was sad and where her Momma was. Thinking how do you explain this thing. Obviously you don't. All the words in the world can't explain this to her. And will never fully be able to.
In the past week I've seen a hundred other stories like mine. Her smile lit up a room. She was the life of the party. Everyone she ever came in contact with has nothing but nice things to say about her. Every photo that has been posted shows how full of life she was.
I will likely have at least one or two more posts related to this one. But right now I have a mission. A mission for you and for me.
Her name was Samantha Wright. She lived a couple towns over from me. She lit up a room like the sunshine. And so the term SamShine has been born. It has quickly turned into a mantra, and even a logo. Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 14th, is a day that we've been challenged to "Spread some SAMshine". Any act of kindness, any kind gesture. Please join me tomorrow in spreading the SAMshine.
Join on the Facebook event page.