Stunned

Just found out that a guy I went to high school with has apparently killed his estranged wife and himself, in a murder-suicide case in our small home town.

A divorce – an ugly one – was underway, and both parties allegedly had other love interests.  The couple had two children.

I am shaken and grieving, although neither of these people were great friends of mine, and I probably last saw them about 15 years ago.  It’s shocking when violence touches a small, close-knit place such as the town where I grew up.  This was not just some couple in some town on some street, and the phrase “this hits close to home” is really true.  It hit me.  It hurts.

It’s not so much that domestic violence is less likely to crop up in small communities; it’s not less likely at all.  And domestic violence touches all our lives in some small way or other, no matter where we live or who we know.  It’s that if you’d told me at graduation, “One of your classmates will kill his or her spouse more than 20 years from now,” I’d have believed you – I’d just have guessed a different person entirely.  In fact, I’d have probably guessed at least a hundred other people before getting to this guy – and my graduating class was only 244 people. 

The couple lived on a street I’m very familiar with: a close friend lived there, my piano teacher lived there, some close friends of my parents’ from church still live there.  My sister lives a few blocks away, and heard the sirens.  The image of fire, rescue, and police vehicles clogging the street, lights flashing, is haunting me.

I can’t stop thinking about those kids.

If you are so inclined, prayers for the family, and for the people who love them, would be much appreciated.

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18 thoughts on “Stunned”

  1. I cannot tell how much I wish wherever I turn, people I know (virtually or in real life) would stop receiving bad news.
    Lately it seems wherever I go and with whoever I talk to, everyone is in a bad situation. I wish it would end – what kind of a world are we living in? I mean, what did we do to make it such a negative place?
    My prayers go to their kids, this is an experience that changes you for life.
    I also hope the love of your family and our thoughts help you all deal with this.

    1. Thanks, Ines.

      I do sometimes wonder whether life has always been this hard – I mean, people used to have problems with smallpox, or starvation, or having lost a limb in an accident with an ox-drawn cart or something. Do we create emotional conflict because we don’t lack for material things? Or is it that all those physical problems of disease and plain old living kept people from focusing on their emotional problems?

      I don’t know.

      I’m worried about their kids, too – one is 17 and the other is 11.

  2. The childhood friend of one of my cubical neighbors was murdered by an ex recently – my colleague still has the memorial website photo pinned up. So sad to hear this has happened to people whom you know – my thoughts are with you and them. It is always chastening to be reminded of how little we know about other people.

    1. Noz, you’re right – how little we really know about what goes on in other people’s lives. Not a one of Tim’s friends would have hesitated to frog-march him down to a counselor if we’d known what he was considering. But we didn’t know.

      How sad. How terribly sad.

  3. Yes life is that hard and it can be this horrible.
    The world is full of wickedness and loneliness.
    That’s why when we feel beauty and tender towards anyone or anything, we draw it near and hold it close to us.
    We should all realize that every kindness matters .

    I’m very , very sorry.
    You can never know what goes on behind closed doors.
    I will be praying for those poor bebes ,
    it makes me want to cry.

    I would give you a hug if I could..

  4. That is a shocking tragedy indeed – a few such cases have made our national news lately, but to know the people involved must be distressing for you and all their circle.

    I do hope the children will be well cared for by wider family or the remaining partners.

    1. FS, it is horrible enough to hear of this happening to *anyone*… but to realize that by the age of eight, I’d already met a person, a nice kid my own age, who would become a spouse-abuser and murderer? Still trying to wrap my head around that.

      And those children. I know they have caring grandparents, but it’s such a burden on them.

  5. Awful. I remember a sweet little neighbor boy who grew up to be a hardened criminal and is now in prison, pretty much forever. Who really knows what goes on in a life?

    My sympathies to you and all of those involved.

  6. How awful for those children. I hope they have loving grandparents or aunts/uncles to help them navigate the years ahead and all of the questions of why.

    When it’s someone you know, events like this really shake you to your core. So many why’s, so many what if’s.

    A neighbor’s suicide a few years ago rocked our small village, but his death has been turned into a positive by his family and supportive community. A 5K race and 1 mile walk to remember him and raise funds for a local suicide prevention group has helped to open a conversation about those in trouble/need. What could have been a hush-hush tragedy has turned into a positive event. Hopefully, something similar will happen in your area to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation to remember there are alternatives.

    Thoughts and prayers for all.

    1. Tiara, I hope that both families will come together for the sake of the kids – I know that grandparents are in their lives.

      Friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil on their front lawn last night – the kids will not lack for attention, I’m sure. I hope some small good can come out of this terrible event, as in your town.

  7. This awful event only reminds us how very tenuous life is. I will pray for those children and for your family.

    Sending loving thoughts and prayers to them and to you and yours.

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