There were some strange stories going on in the news over the weekend. First, the “expectant” couple who were struck and killed on their way to the hospital ( the baby was successfully delivered, prematurely); the 37-year-old man who was swallowed up and killed by a “sink hole” while sleeping in his bed; and the elderly woman who lay dying on the floor of a retirement home, while the 911 operator begged the attendant (who called 911 for help) to perform CPR–and she refused, saying it was against the rules! Oh my! Life truly is sometimes stranger than fiction.
Speaking of news, something tragic and sad happened in our tiny town, week before last. I’ve been debating about posting about it for several days. It’s just so sad, but when you look at the big picture, it truly is stranger than fiction.
My story concerns a local couple around my age. In fact, the husband was the valedictorian of my graduation class of 1972, and one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. His wife was two years older than he, and also came from a good, well-respected, local family. The couple married in the seventies, and spent most of their lives living in North Carolina.
After all these years, the couple decided to move back to their hometown, a year or so ago. The husband had become a minister, some years back, and the couple decided to accept the call to pastor a church here. She’d always been a talented pianist, and had begun offering piano lessons to the local children. Not long ago, there was a nice write-up about them in our local newspaper. Everyone was so glad to have them back in town.
Exactly one week after Valentine’s Day, I can’t tell you how my heart sank when I heard the news that the wife had taken her own life! Our entire town is still stunned and heavy-hearted. I have no idea of her reasons. So tragic, especially considering this woman’s family has already seen more than their share of tragedy in recent years.
First of all, her brother took his own life, too, several years ago. He left behind a wife and three children, one of them just a few years old. Then, the son of her younger sister was convicted of murdering a prominent, local businessman one Easter morning. The nephew was suffering with some mental issues, which contributed to him committing the murder. He’s currently locked up in a prison for the mentally ill. That’s an awful lot of tragedy for one family to experience, don’t you think?
You know, living in a tiny town often causes its residents to be connected to each other in many ways. For instance:
*At the time of his suicide, the brother was married to a co-worker of mine. Their children attended the same small private school as my children. We have sons who are the same age.
*The prominent businessman, who was murdered, was also married to another co-worker of mine. Our children went to the same private school, too. At the time of the murder, my oldest son (and his future wife) worked at the large company where the business man was employed.
*The father of the convicted murderer is the president of a local bank, and was also a member of my graduating class of 1972. His sister is married to my first cousin. He was also my youngest son’s boss, for a time.
Stranger than fiction, huh?