Saturday, July 19, 2014

Staring Out Upon The Unbreachable Sea

A mother prays, "Sleep tight, my child, sleep well
For I'll be at your side
That no shadow, no darkness, no tolling bell,
Shall pierce your dreams this night."
- "Jesus Was An Only Son"

Twenty-three-year old rookie Jersey City Police Department Police Officer Melvin Santiago was laid to rest yesterday. 

Officer Santiago was killed last weekend while he and his partner responded to a report of a burglary at the Walgreen's Pharmacy on the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue.  Officer Santiago was murdered - having been ambushed by his killer who laid in wait for the arrival of the police apparently so that he could kill one or more of them. 

There is no more unnatural phenomenon in the universe than for a parent to bury a child.  It simply runs afoul of the natural order of things.  It is a phenomenon that every parent, including Yours truly, hopes like Hell we never have to endure ourselves.  And it is a phenomenon that is so singularly heartbreaking and gutwrenching that whenever another parent is forced to endure it - as Officer Santiago's mother was yesterday - the empathy that the rest of us feel for the affected parent is palpable.  It matters not whether we know the parent or the child for whom they mourn. 

Much has been said and much has been written this week about Officer Santiago being "Jersey City's Son".  This gallant young man has been appropriately lauded for the life he lived.  Yesterday, his brothers and sisters in the law enforcement community - including countless ones who had never met him and many who had never been to Jersey City, New Jersey before - stood shoulder-to-shoulder paying their respects to Officer Santiago and to the family that mourns him.   At some point however - not today perhaps but sometime in the not-too-distant future - the attention of the media and the world at large will be drawn to other things.  That is not intended as a criticism.  It is simply a reflection upon the way in which life proceeds.  For most of us, an event such as this is a loss.  But for the family of Melvin Santiago, it is a Loss.
They shall deal with it forever... they stand on the shore and look across a sea whose distance cannot be breached.


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