Friday, November 7, 2014

Thoughts about recent tragedies in Chester County

Most of the families in Chester County are settling into our back to school routines. My daughter just had her teacher conference and I've been enjoying the beautiful fall foliage while cheering kids on at the soccer fields. We've been talking about gratitude as we prepare for the upcoming holidays and playing charades after dinner.  After the kids are in bed, I'm willing to bed that I'm like many parents stressing about finances, wishing I could volunteer more with the PTA and wondering if my kids are eating too much sugar from their Halloween baskets.  Last week I was writing on my blog about fun things to do with your kids in Chester County and where to go for the best pumpkin spice latte.

Then came the week of hell in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Jacinda Miller, age 41 was shot and killed in the YMCA parking lot as she was arriving to teach her fitness class on Monday evening. Her estranged boyfriend then turned the gun on himself.  Not only did he end her life but he left her two sons without a mother.

Then another tragedy is announced which happened 5 miles away from the first one (neither having to do with one another).  It's announced that 3 year old Scotty McMillian was brutally beaten by his mother and her boyfriend because he wouldn't eat his dinner.  Scotty died while his Mom and boyfriend went out for pizza and shopping.  If you haven't read the story about little Scotty McMillian, I suggest you don't.  The details are gruesome and absolutely unbelievable. It's been reported as one of the most heinous crimes that the Philadelphia area has EVER seen.

I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only person in Chester County feeling anger, sadness, and heartache over these 2 beautiful and innocent individuals who lost their lives to domestic violence.

Not only were these incidents not that far from where I live, but as a mother around the same age as Jacinda Miller and having a 3 year old myself, I can't help but feel so confused and angry about these heinous crimes.  I realize that there could be many factors including drugs and mental illness but it's still so hard for me to imagine what could cause someone to do these things.

This tragedy makes me wonder how can this kind of evil exist in the world?  What would make someone commit this kind of horrible crime towards another human being?

If you follow my blog, then you know that I am someone who constantly looks for the silver lining and always try to ask myself, "What can we learn from this?"  When something like this happens, it's pretty hard to imagine that anything good can come out of it.  I know that the community will need time to go through the grieving process (including anger and sadness) but we are an amazing community that will come together and help each other in any way possible!!  I have already seen some amazing things happening on Facebook, in schools, and churches that are supporting the victims families.  I am so proud of my community for stepping up and helping one another.  I'm proud of the Brandywine YMCA for keeping all the children safe inside and handling everything perfectly and I'm proud of the amazing law enforcement, medical professionals, and people in social work in our area that keep us safe and help us to grieve.

Yesterday, I logged off social media entirely because I couldn't bear to hear any more about what's happening as these stories unfold.  Then, I asked myself, how can I make a difference?  I'm hoping that sharing my feelings with all of you as well as some facts about domestic violence, maybe, just MAYBE we can prevent someone from having this happen in their family (or someone they love) in the future. Domestic violence is rarely talked about but we need to realize that it's REAL and it happens EVERYWHERE.

Here are some facts and resources I found...

This blog post was written by a mother expressing her sadness.  I am NOT a professional.  If you or someone you know needs help, contact this 24 hour domestic violence hotline at 888-711-6270.  If you need to talk to a licensed professional to process your feelings,  you can contact Annemarie Lange at Annemarie Lange LPC.

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