For everyone suffering the loss of Connor Powers and now the loss of Autumn Walsh. I wish I had words of wisdom to heal all of our broken hearts, to magically make the pain go away. But alas I am neither Mary Poppins nor Harry Potter with his magic wand. All I do know is that these losses will change us, in ways that we never imagined, both good and bad. They will make us stronger, and weaker, more resiliant and yet more vulnerable. With a stronger outside, but mored tender and soft on the inside, maybe just call us all turtles. Call us what you want, but we will survive this because we are fighters.
This path that we walk now sure isnt pretty, but we can walk it all together, leaning on one another when necessary, picking up the ones that stumble along the way, and carrying the ones that just can’t walk any more. We are a strong village, stronger than we ever knew, stronger than we ever thought we would have to be. The young ones among us, the friends and aquaintances of Connor and Autumn are feeling this grief in ways that I never imagined people that age would have to.
They have been stunned and heartbroken in their late teens and early 20’s, by losing someone in their own age group. That type of loss didn’t hit me until I was well into my 40’s. This generation has grown up much faster, handling grief, addiction, gun violence and the perils of this grown up society that we have handed them at a much earlier age than most of us adults handled when we were that age.
I have mo magic panacea to fix the perils of the society that we live in, guns, drugs, hate and other things that teens love. What I do have is the idea that this community we live in, Franklin County , Massachusetts, is pretty amazing. We may the the county forgotten by the lawmakers and anyone east of Gardner, but we make up for it with an abundance of love, compassion, broad shoulders and the ability to make casseroles for grieving families and big listening ears. That may be why we are the forgotten county, we know that help and love comes in old fashioned ways, and for that I am proud of my village.