A young man has died. We never knew him, but we know of him because we know our friend, Kim. Way too young, the young man will be laid to rest today in Santa Barbara this third Sunday in November.
Let me back up. Last winter, Hannah and I spent the month of February in Carpinteria, California (south of Santa Barbara) because we are soft and the winters in Maine are hard.
Renting a VRBO condo for a month, we had the good fortune to be neighbors with Kim. Over the month, we got to know her – we had dinner together, an evening of wine and hors d’oeuvres, she brought us the local paper each Thursday, and we even went to see Wonder on a Sunday afternoon at the local Alcazar Theater in downtown Carpinteria together.
We’ve been in touch throughout the year as we will return to Carpinteria again this winter. Yup, we are still soft.
Then a week ago, all hell broke loose at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, some 40 miles south of Carpinteria. Thirteen people were murdered by a domestic terrorist. Stunned and horrified, residents got an up close and personal view of the tragedy of mass shootings that plagues the United States.
The young man was gunned down that Wednesday night, just having started working at the popular local country bar. It turns out the young man was the best friend of Kim’s son. He would have turned 21 tomorrow.
We ache for Kim who we know and love, we ache for her son who we know must be a good guy as he is Kim’s son, and we ache for the young man’s family who we have never met.
This is not a blog about the insanity of gazillion guns in America killing our fellow citizens. It’s about our friend Kim, her family, and her community dealing with an outrage that breaks her heart and breaks ours. It will be nearly two months before we can hug her and have her feel our love in person.
So, we sit 3000 miles away on the coast of Maine and wonder what we can do to support Kim and her son. We do know that Kim has a tradition with her son and his girlfriend where the three of them go out for breakfast from time to time.
What Hannah and I can do is pick up the tab for breakfast for them in Carpinteria. They’ll have each other for support, and they’ll know friends in Maine are thinking of them and they are not alone.
Click here for the young man’s story in the Carpinteria’s Coastal View News.
Click here for the Santa Barbara’s Nooshawk story on the young man’s memorial service.
PS Earlier this morning before I posted this blog, we heard from Kim that she is going to use the breakfast money to “pay it forward” by donating it to the family of the young man.