By Marisol Rexach, Ph.D. in Education Student


Out of tragedy comes a lesson.  A few weeks back, a fellow co-worker and I were chatting, discussing what we did over the weekend.  Hers was a very busy and productive weekend.  She told me an all-at-once heartbreaking and heartwarming story of a family tragedy that brought a community together.

A car crash left six children without parents.  Additionally, the grandmother and one child suffered serious injuries. The thought of a happy summer road trip to visit family ending in tragedy left me breathless.  I recalled my own family’s road trip to Florida.  I still have fond memories of that experience, the tire blowout and all.  We went to Disney World, but somehow that is not what I remember most.  I remember singing songs along the way.  I remember playing the license plate game.  I remember the billboards announcing the must-stop adventure at South
of the Border
, a glorified souvenir stop where it was reportedly, “chili today and hot tamale!”    As a young girl, these experiences contrasted greatly with our daily lives.  In that car, we were a close family.

It is sobering to consider how starkly my memories compare to the memories these children will have.  While my grief for them is great, I am also comforted by the outpouring of giving organized by members of the Santa Ana community.  This group of people mobilized to create opportunities for giving.  My co-worker and her family offered the ingredients, as well as their time, to make fresh fruit juices at the fundraising event.   They spent hours in the hot sun, where others also donated and labored to raise the funds to transport the parents back to Santa Ana for burial.

I believe there is a lesson in this, perhaps many lessons in fact.  I believe tragedies can provide opportunities for strengthening our ties to humanity; they can create a sense of community that leaves us feeling tied to a greater purpose.  I am humbled by my co-workers efforts.  She makes me want to be a better person.  Thank you, Adriana.

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