Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I can't seem to stop blogging about this story

Uncommon depth of grief elicited by random death

I guess we're all asking ourselves, why? Why this woman, so close to what's supposed to be the joyous time of welcoming a new baby? Why did this happen? And it's the knowledge, I suppose, that any of us could have been walking down a sidewalk and be caught in such a twist of fate.

It's reassuring that she died quickly. It's sad and yet comforting that one of the things the coroner did was take footprints of the child that would never be born, giving the father something tangible to remember his daughter by.

I'm crying as I read this story, crying more as I try to put into words how it affected me. It doesn't make sense, really. I didn't know Stephanie Hufnagle. I didn't go to her bank. I didn't have any real reason for my life to cross with hers. She was nearly half my age.

But her death has affected me more than I expected it to. I suppose because her life was pregnant with more than a child. She was so young, just starting out in a marriage to her high school sweetheart. There was such an expectancy that came through in the stories. And I suppose this teaches us to cherish that expectancy even when things come crashing down upon us, because life could end at any time, but it is the good in people that will be remembered, and how they approached life. Mrs. Hufnagle seemed to be embracing life. I guess that's the best any of us can hope for.

To the families involved, the Cunninghams and the Hufnagles, I offer my deepest condolences. And also to the driver of the truck who bumped into the concrete wall--this was a horrible thing to happen, something that, again, could have happened to any of us but freakishly happened Tuesday morning. I know she must be in a world of hurt herself.

We always hope to touch people with our life, but sometimes it is also our death that really affects people. I know that I'll remember this young woman for years to come, even though I didn't know her.

The questions surrounding her death will eventually be answered, in terms of what happened and how the concrete gave way. There's a lot on the newpaper's site today on that. Yes, I want to know that. But I guess what I want to know more is that the families and friends of this young woman are getting the comfort they need, and those who responded to the accident, and everyone else who paused in their day in horror, come to have some peace of mind, if not answers to their questions.

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