That "It Could Have Been Me" Feeling

That "It Could Have Been Me" Feeling

Do you ever read or hear about an awful event that stops you in your tracks? That hits a little too close to home?

I'm sure we've all had those "it could have been me" moments. I had one just last week. Last Saturday there was tragic shooting in the middle of the afternoon at a bus stop about mile from my house. The victim, Wil Lewis, who was not the intended target, had a familiar story.

He was a relatively recent transplant to Chicago with his wife and they had just settled in far north side, telling family it seemed "safe enough." I wonder if they were also attracted by the affordable housing prices and proximity to Lake Michigan, like my fiance and I were when we moved here three years ago. Even though they'd only been in the neighborhood for a few weeks, I wonder if they were enjoying checking out the neighborhood spots- the grocery store, the bakery, the bars. I wonder if they appreciated the diversity the area has to offer, the friendly local business owners, the quirky characters you see out and about.

I've been having trouble processing how someone could be killed across the street from the yoga studio I go to or the seamstress whose altered my bridesmaid gowns. It easily could have been me waiting for the bus, or my fiance, or a co-worker, or owner my favorite neighborhood bar, or....

I wish I could figure out how to better honor this loss in the community, the area I where I am finally putting down some roots after feeling like a perpetual wanderer for many years. To honor a life of someone lost much too soon. The yoga studio across the street had a class benefiting Project NIA a few days ago. It was a calming experience- to be with others in the neighborhood who likely felt somewhat similar to me in all this craziness. Breathing together and getting all crunchy-like. But I couldn't help but think, what difference will this make? What significant impact can I make? Tragic violence happens daily in this city- what can I do about it? I really don't have any answers on this one. It's frustrating.

Unfortunately, my small contributions will not be able to save the next shooting victim or make a dent in the crime statistics. But as the teacher of that yoga class put it- "Although any amount may not seem much in the face of great tragedy, it is the boundless love and support of a community's healing."

Wil Lewis' family has set up a memorial fund to help cover funeral costs and set up college scholarships for "kids who have worked hard to make their dreams come true." Please consider donating.

Check out another local blogger's perspective on this shooting.

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Filed under: Around Town

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