Remembering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims and Some Kindness for Valentine’s Day

Enjoying an absolutely gorgeous day last year in Parkland, Florida, with this stunning horse, Sunny.

While a lovely sentiment and I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys celebrating the day, for me, Valentine’s Day is not a day I’m prone to embrace. I don’t particularly want or need a specific day to have gifts, flowers, chocolates, etc. bestowed on me, but living a mere minutes away from Parkland, Florida, the city where the horrific shooting took place on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which a gunman opened fire and killed seventeen students and staff members and injured seventeen others,  I’ve had a change of heart and perspective.

My heart will forever be tied to these precious souls who lost their lives on February 14, 2018.

It’s difficult not to be reflective and feel a tremendous malaise in the air. Being the anniversary of the incident, it’s on the news all the time and my heart breaks all over again each time I hear something about it, bringing me to tears at the senselessness of it all. I Dan and I were in the vicinity of the shooting a few days before it happened, enjoying the quiet beauty of the day as we watched a horse competition. Parkland is a gorgeous community – peaceful, beautifully landscaped and idyllic in nearly every way. It’s hard to grasp something so evil was living within, grappling to come out in such a violent and premeditated way.

Paying my respects to the shooting victims at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

After the incident, the students rallied, parents rallied, the community rallied, as did the nation and the whole world, trying to make sense of it in the throes of grief. I’m not sure how one ever moves on, but we try. We have to. If nothing else, Valentine’s Day, and really every day, needs to be a reminder that we simply must try harder as people to love. Not the romantic love associated with Valentine’s Day hearts and Cupid’s arrow, but the love that comes from kindness, tolerance, and acceptance. We need to listen more, we need to care more, and we need to love more. We don’t know the shoes or path another walks, but perhaps if we were more invested in the small spec of the world each of us inhabits, many of the tragedies of today could have been avoided had we paid attention to all the little signs that were really big cries for help.

Every creature on this earth serves a purpose. Love, respect, cherish and embrace that purpose.

So give all those in your life you care about an extra hug, kiss, or smile. Pay someone a compliment – maybe even a complete stranger, as you don’t know how perhaps that small act could brighten their day in a moment when they really need it. Be less angry in traffic and more patient waiting in line at the grocery store. Extend that kindness to all living creatures great and small, including our earth that gives us the beautiful world in which we live. Be respectful of nature and be respectful of one another. Life is fleeting for all of us, that much I know for sure, so why not make it one in which every day is Valentine’s Day.

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  1. Cathy Keisha says:

    My heart goes out to you and those who’s loved ones were murdered. Our thoughts and prayers are NOT enough. In January 2019 alone, there were 28 mass shootings in the U.S. claiming 36 lives and wounding 92 others. It’s time laws are enacted that will stop this senseless murder so that other families won’t have to suffer the loss of loved ones. (I was going to include this sentiment in my post Monday but didn’t know if politics belonged.)

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, CK. I know the post wasn’t cat related per se and I knew I wouldn’t get much traction, but the incident is part of my life and I couldn’t let the day go by without saying my piece. I know guns, mental illness, politics, etc. are a sensitive subject, but something simply MUST happen, because you are right, thoughts and prayers are just NOT enough.

  2. Excellent post! We all need to share more compassion.
    Happy Valentine’s Day to all Zee and Zoey’s Cat Chronicles!

  3. Ellen Pilch says:

    Beautiful post. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. We are perilously close to losing compassion, or a lot of people are. So we need to try harder to love and care.

    The USA is nuts allowing guns. Sorry I don’t get who gets self-righteous about it. These young people are not here because of weapons and I am sorry the day has an unneeded lustre of sadness because of it for you.

    We should not have to write posts like this, should we * hugs *

  5. meowmeowmans says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Deb. This is an important and beautiful post. We live not far from Newtown, CT, and so much of what you have written here rings true.