It was an ordinary day until it wasn’t…as the tragic events of Friday, May 31, 2019 unfolded, we had no idea of the carnage that would be left behind. It began as an ordinary day and then around 4:30 PM I was told “there is an active shooter in our building” by someone on the front lawn of my shop, which is located directly across the street from “that building”.  Building 2 as it is known, is part of the municipal center complex.  I, of course, locked up shop and headed home which is a couple of miles down the road.  As it turns out it was a mass shooting and left 12 people dead and 4 gravely wounded.

It is being called “the most devastating thing to happen in Virginia Beach history” and “the darkest hour in Virginia Beach” and this is so true.  I have lived here for 35 years and my shop has been here for 13 years and I would have never dreamed this could happen here…in my own backyard…where “nothing ever happens”.  As The owner of a small, struggling business (a Mom & Pup shop as I like to call it as Inky comes to work with me everyday) I realized that’s not the ideal location for a retail shop. And of course you always want things to change and be a little more active. But then things do change and you realize that once again you’re longing for that peaceful solitude.

I want to smile and greet people like I’ve always done and feel happy but I’m not feeling that joy today. We are all grieving now in our own way and just feeling sad now.  Virginia Beach will never be the same. We will never be the same people. We can only hope and pray that we, the people, and the city will be changed forever in a positive way. Right now I’m not feeling that. I’m feeling negative and blue and sad. As the shock and the numbness wears off, the feelings will turn to grief. And then once the grieving process is done, which will be quite some time, then we can begin the healing process.

The day after this devastating tragedy dawned ugly and gray.   The skies over Virginia Beach on Saturday reflected our somber mood. They were gray and foreboding. We want to scream but we can’t quite get the words out. These gray clouds echo the pain in our broken hearts. It looked like the Heavens wanted to cry out in sorrow with us. We could hear the thunder rumbling as our hearts and minds rumble with pain and sorrow and sadness.  And then suddenly the sun is shining and we almost wonder why. Life goes on and business goes on and again we wonder why. Why does the sun shine on the darkest time and why does life go on when we just need time to grieve?

It had been a media circus here and in some small way at first I thought perhaps there would be a little blurb or a mention of my shop but then I thought “if this is what it takes to get the word out then I’ll just remain anonymous”.  And I’m sure the anonymity I will keep.

The image shows the view from my shop now.  I literally walked about 20 feet to get the picture so that’s how close it is.  Talk about too close to home and too close for comfort.  So now when I look out I see the yellow crime scene tape and the small memorial that is constantly growing.

It’s beautiful but heartbreaking at the same time.  You can see that now the sun is shining in a beautiful clear, blue sky.  The birds are singing and flowers are blooming.  And yet our hearts are broken and we are filled with pain and sorrow and sadness.



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