June 4, 2009

A Vigil for Dr. Tiller in South Park - Lawrence, KS

My travels over the last week have not been happy. On Sunday morning, the wonderful Dr. George Tiller was brutally assassinated in his church. The shock has been slowly fading but my sadness and anger are still strong. That evening, I attended a vigil in Lawrence. I have struggled whether or not to post about these experiences. I have said I would not make this blog an outlet for my personal beliefs - but this tragedy has been overwhelming and it is hard to seperate my grief from those political viewpoints that might generate controversy. So, to my readers, I ask you to understand. This is not an attempt to force any ideology on you, just a woman in mourning.

I met with my co-worker Holly to drive to Lawrence for a vigil. While we drove, we did not really speak. I was busy helping to plan actions for those in mourning, ways to release our collective and individual pains, on my phone while Holly helped to coordinate media responses. It was action that kept me together that day. From the time I woke up until I buckled my seatbelt I had been constantly typing at a keyboard, furiously trying to keep multiple websites flowing with information and trying to help others find answers. I still have no answers for myself.

We arrived in South Park of Lawrence and immediately set to work. Passing out candles and knotting white ribbons of rememberence around our forearms. We talked, struggling to find topics that would distract us from what had brought us together that night. At 8pm, around two hundred people had gathered to mourn the murder of Dr. Tiller.

Some spoke about him as a man, others about his work as a doctor and still others spoke about his legacy that inspired them to action. We quietly sang, we quietly cried, we quietly prayed and then at 8:45 we gave us searching for ways to express ourselves and stood for a moment of silence.

South Park was beautiful that night. That has become part of that tragedy. Like those faces of men, women and children of all ages and races lit by vigil candles, I will always remember standing in South Park that night. As the dark slowly came and our hearts ached with sadness.

Total Travel Time: 3.5 hours
Total Distance Traveled: 70 miles
Soundtrack: "We are a peaceful angry people and we are singing for our lives."


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