Perhaps you heard about the precious ten-year-old who was abducted from a Colorado neighborhood as she walked to school on Friday, October 5. One week later - two days ago - remains found in a nearby park were positively identified as those of Jessica Ridgeway.
Perhaps you heard the Amber Alert, or followed the story on the morning shows while you drank your coffee and got your kids off to school. Maybe you hugged them a little tighter before they left.
One thing you don't know is that two of Jessica's great-aunts are Kossacks. Like many of you they have to maintain a firewall between their blogging identities and their real names because of their jobs, but I know the family and I can tell you they are mothers and daughters and aunties and friends and progressive activists.
When I first met one of these Kossacks for lunch a few years ago, she told me that she doesn't have a lot of close friends because her family is extremely close. There are three sisters and they socialize together, talk to one another throughout each day, and have raised their children together.
They're good people. I wrote about my flowers dying when I was evacuated for the Waldo Canyon Fire this summer; I said it was silly, but when I threw the containers in the garbage can I sat down in the driveway and cried.
Shortly after I wrote that, my sister friend pulled into my driveway with the back of her minivan full of flowers. She hugged me, and then she spent a long time planting each one in just the right place. It makes me tear up all over again to remember that kindness.
This tragedy is just that - nothing, really, can help when an innocent life is taken so brutally, so unexpectedly, and so callously. Still, if you're so inclined, I know that Jessica's mother is struggling both financially and emotionally, and tragedies compound themselves by creating unforeseen expenses. Volunteers in Westminster have put together a website - JessicaRidgeway.com - where you can leave your condolences and/or make a PayPal donation to help this young mother.