Friday, January 24, 2014

The Never-Ending Walk Up Calvary Hill

As a parent your most important mission is doing all you can to ensure the safety of your children.  As a parent your biggest fear is that your best shall not be good enough.  And if it is not that you might find yourself confronted with a parent's greatest nightmare:  having to bury your own child.

A lot of time - too much in fact - in this space is devoted to things frivolous or, on my really good days, inane.  None of today's time shall be so devoted. 

If you are a parent - as I am - then take a moment today to be thankful of the fact that no one is asking you to trade places today with the parents of Avonte Oquendo, Oscar Florczyk or Madison Holleran. 

Madison Holleran - the oldest of the trio - was only 19 years old, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, when she took her own life last Friday evening.  A great student and a top-flight athlete, she nevertheless reached the almost unfathomable conclusion that life had become too much of a struggle for her to withstand. To be so young and to be so inconsolably distraught is a terrible, terrible thing.   I would not pretend to know what drives anyone - let alone a young woman whose entire, amazing life remained to be lived - to jump from the roof of a parking garage.  I know only that the family that loved her unconditionally shall miss her completely.  It is a result that seems incredibly unfair to both her and them.

Oscar Florczyk was only eighteen.  On Monday night while driving northbound on the Garden State Parkway, the vehicle he was driving left the travel portion of the roadway, contacted several trees and caught fire.  He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.  He was a senior at Linden High School.  A young man whose next big life event may very well have been the Senior Prom or High School Graduation.  Eighteen years old. 

Avonte Oquendo captured the attention of countless thousands of people in the New York area from the moment that he first disappeared after leaving his school in Long Island City on October 4.  He was only fourteen.  Avonte was autistic and did not speak.  Ray Kelly made trying to locate this young man alive and return him to his family one of the top priorities of his final few months as Commissioner of the NYPD.  Sadly, Commissioner Kelly's mission proved unsuccessful.  Last Thursday evening, remains that were subsequently identified as Avonte were pulled out of the East River.  He was fourteen years old. 

Keep a good thought today for the Holleran, Florczyk and Oquendo families.  Each of them can certainly use it.... 

....and they are damn sure entitled to it.


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