Dear readers of BelieveItOhrNot,
This blog is not about travel, ovarian cancer or Mexico. It’s about guns. It’s about my friend, Christine Loeber, the former Executive Director of the Pathway Home in Yountville, CA. Christine died on Friday when a mentally ill veteran stormed the non-profit. He took three hostages (including my friend) and everyone died.
Now it’s Sunday night. I’m sitting at my computer barely able to hold it together. My 48-year-old friend isn’t my friend any longer.
Not only did I lose a friend. The world has lost a passionate, talented social worker. I first met Christine at a veterans fair. She was sitting at a resource table and I approached it to find out about the services they were offering. After five minutes of us talking, I knew we’d become friends. Her energy sparkled. When I found out that she was a social worker like me, I liked her even more. After that first day, she gave me her business card. I decided to email her and I asked her if she liked beer and pool. She liked both, and music and yoga. A friendship was built. Once I got to know her better, I could see how devoted she was to her clients. She always spoke about the vets she worked with nothing but the utmost respect. I dug that about her.
I’m so pissed off. I can no longer say that I don’t know anyone who has been a victim of random gun violence. I’m not in that club any longer. A mentally ill veteran took my gun virginity. He violated me. And there’s nothing I can do to get it back or bring her back.
Now I’m in the same suckers club … Newtown, Parkland, Columbine, and I have no place to put my grief. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d lose a friend to something so tragic. Car accident, sure. Heart attack, maybe. Cancer, unfortunately. But to a gun at the hands of a mentally ill veteran … absolutely not. Silly, innocent me.
And if her death isn’t enough, you know what hurts even more? The fact that I feel powerless to do anything about it. The fact that my grief is so raw, and so intense, I can’t fathom how to yell “enough is enough” loudly enough or strongly enough. If somehow I do manage to get through my fog of grief, and if I did yell, I doubt anyone would hear me. So for now, I’m just stuck here in griefland.
If you want to yell for me, I’d appreciate it. I hope to find my voice once my pain stops. If you want to share my post that’s cool too.
I hope you never have to experience losing someone so senselessly to gun violence. I want to go back to a place of innocence, but I can’t.
I miss you Christine. Our friendship was too fucking short-lived.