My friend just called to tell me that one of the people killed in the terror attack on the Hudson River bike path yesterday was a high school classmate of her son. This boy's father took his own life in his senior year of high school. It happened only a few months after my friend's husband had taken his life as well. She says that family helped her and her son heal. But now that boy's mother must endure another unspeakable loss. My friend is reeling at the news, identifying with the mother of that slain young man. She says she keeps finding herself standing on street corners, sobbing.
When my cousin in Virginia called me yesterday, and asked, "Do you see what's happening in your city?" I was oblivious. The TV was tuned to Fixer Upper, and I was all but ignoring it as I worked. "Turn on the news," she said, and when I did, I began urgently texting loved ones to make sure none of them had been on that path at three something that afternoon. Any one of them could have been. But my daughter was at work. My son was dropping off his rent check in Astoria. My niece was just leaving the hospital in Newark where she works. Everyone else I reached out to was safe.
I heard five of the eight people killed were Argentine tourists, in the city for a thirtieth high school reunion and out for an afternoon bike ride. Even with six degrees of separation, it seemed unlikely that I'd be connected to any of the remaining three who died. I was wrong. And now you who read here are connected, too.