How much can one town take?
It’s a question that remains unanswered but has been asked repeatedly in recent months. Alvord, population 1,350, has lost five teenagers in one-and-a-half years.
Samantha Rogers. Delaney Mancil. Aisha Bryant. Marcus Siletti.
And now, Cheyanne Dollins.
The three most recent losses have occurred in the last three months.
I grew up in Alvord, and although I don’t know most of the kids in school there now, I’ll always feel a connection to that community. It’s a part of my story. It’s a part of who I am.
And I hurt for you. All of Wise County hurts for you.
I have friends who have lost children, and in some cases I have hesitated to express my sympathy because I, like many people, wonder what to say.
My words seem so feeble compared to the gravity of their loss.
But my prayer in those instances, and now, is that any such expression is accepted with the knowledge that it is with sincere sorrow for your loss, the depth of which I don’t claim to understand.
Initial reports indicated it was possibly a 20-year-old woman killed on the tracks, just north of town.
And I hoped it was. I’m not going to lie. I hoped it was a 20-year-old woman from out of town. I allowed myself to ignore the fact that she would also have grieving family and friends. Just not here.
I hoped no one here would hurt.
Within hours of first hearing of the accident, I saw posts on Facebook indicating it was a teenager, a soon-to-be freshman, and I felt frantic.
I needed to know. I scanned all the posts searching for some sort of confirmation. I even tried to search the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s website with no success.
But as the minutes passed, I was filled with sinking sadness at the realization that it was true.
I was weepy.
My family had just buried my grandmother earlier in the week, and even though she was 84 and everyone agrees she lived a long, full life, it still hurt.
And then to get this news – I almost couldn’t allow myself to think about it.
One at 84. One at 14.
As a mother, what do you do? As a granddaughter, I had no interest in doing laundry or cooking meals this weekend. As a mother, I might not make it out of bed.
As my kids were talking non-stop one night, I found myself looking forward to their bedtime. One more hour, I thought.
But I stopped myself. What if something were to happen tomorrow?
I would beg God for that hour back.
I’m sorry you can’t have just one more hour. My heart truly aches for you – the family and friends of these kids.
We, as a community, have shed tears for your children.