I live in a small community, Even if you take the surrounding area into consideration it is still a population close to 500. Because of this we are close knit and supportive. Years ago when a small tornado jumped over us, but still caused a bit of damage, everybody came out and began cleaning up together. One of our industries cooked food for us.
I cannot say how Jason's death made everybody else feel, but it affected most everybody. It made me feel jumpy. Suddenly every bad thing could happen. I went from a calm mother to a worrier overnight.
A few weeks later another young man, from a neighboring community shot himself in the head. This is a man who we had all watched compete against our children for years. His youngest brother played against us in a basketball tournament the night Jason died. I did not go watch the games that weekend. Lane did play. One of our administrators cried when the young man, who did not yet know he too would lose a brother to suicide, came up and hugged Lane before the game.
After a few months to calm my nerves I felt I was healing. I was not so jumpy. Last Sunday night there was a house fire just outside of town. On Monday I had two conversations about it. That evening while talking to Lane he told me two people had died in the fire. I assured him that was not true. Surely somebody would have mentioned that. The next day at work I repeated what Lane had said and my reaction. Everybody stopped what they were doing and looked at me. It had been mentioned. I could remember the conversation, but somehow I had not heard those words. Could my brain have been protecting me?
I did not know the couple real well. My only conversations with them were due to work. He kept me supplied in eggs from his chickens. He was our community nudist. When Lane went out to look at the remains of the house he returned and said, "That was naked guy." In a land of conformists it is sad to lose an original.
A few days later I was sitting at a school board meeting when the sirens went off. There was a serious wreck north of town. One of my friends was ejected from the pickup. He landed face first on the pavement and died instantly. I am back to being jumpy again.
Walking into the house where the man's family was gathered brought back the feeling of being where they are. The pain is still too raw. The shock is still there to keep you moving. Fria Chica and I carried in food talked for a moment and had to leave quickly. We both knew we were close to crying and being more emotional than the family.
Here I am, awake early in the morning, on the one day I could be sleeping in. Nightmares wake me up and keep me awake. I do not think it is just me. I think there is a feeling all over town that we have to be alert, look over out shoulders to see what is coming for us next.