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The young college student declared her independence by letting her parents know that, in no uncertain terms, she was tired of their oversight and had only “tolerated” them during her earlier years.

This seemingly outrageous declaration was made one morning, pretty much like any other morning for the family, with breakfast ready on the table and two parents sharing bagels, cream cheese and fruit with their only child.

The tranquility that usually prevailed was missing once the announcement of independence was made.

Ms Daughter stormed from the table, left the house, backed her car from the family’s driveway, and headed to her local community college campus.

No goodbyes were said. No usual hugs or kisses took place.

Then came the news. Somewhere around 10:47 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, the parents saw it unfold on their at home flat screen TV.

The recently declared independent daughter watched in horror on her mobile device as she walked to her biology class.

Faraway, a young gunman had shot and killed 9 students and injured 9 others in a murderous rampage on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

Ms Daughter quickly rushed back home and said she came to know from seeing reports of the massacre that her independence wasn’t so real when life can be snapped away in an instant with no chance for hugs or goodbyes.

Her parents, who had been shocked and stunned by what they saw as ugly behavior at breakfast that morning, were not at that time about to offer up words of conciliation.

But the report of the carnage in Roseburg made for reflective and instant mental changes as to how they’d reacted to their daughter as she stomped out the front door and sped out of their driveway only a few hours earlier.

They knew, as they claim they’ve always known, that you never know if your loved one will be safe when they leave or if they will, in fact, come back home.

Gun violence is a major national issue. But there is an individual issue we need to see as major – treating our kids, friends, relatives and all people we encounter with the hugs and goodbyes that free us from, “If I’d only known what was going to happen.”

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jean Troy

    I know that in the past when our children or young adults flounced out of the house and went to school or work their not returning was very small percentage. But today that is no longer the case, so now I say Love you no matter what. Because family members needs to know that in the big picture no matter the differences they are loved. I too, now make it a point to remind my family who are now adults to stay safe and that I love them. I am a grandmother and no longer have the privilege of seeing the family every day so I feel it is very important to say you love them when ever you are together.

  2. Greta Pruitt

    What remarkably thoughtful advice, Ms. Shirlee. Let us forgive anger or impetuous behavior from others with this thought in mind – this, too, shall pass. Why does it take a tragedy like this to remind us of the need to love and care for one another in kind, compassionate and forgiving ways!
    Thank you, Shirlee.

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