Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 1, 2015
By Pat Edwards
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m never going to be great at keeping to my deadline for submitting my columns each week. I know that I’m supposed to get them in each Thursday by noon, but for some reason Friday is becoming my “norm.” Both the Fern Ridge Review and the Creswell Chronicle editors are very patient with me, and I thank them profusely.
Once again, I’ve waited until Friday to begin this column, but I’m not able to focus on upcoming Lorane events right now. My mind is not on what I should be doing – writing about Lorane. I can’t focus. Instead, my thoughts keep returning to the people of Roseburg – specifically the students and others at Umpqua Community College.
You see, our granddaughter, Hayley Kau, has been a pre-nursing student at Umpqua for the past 2 years and is about ready to apply to their excellent nursing program.
Fortunately, I knew that she was safe before I had even heard about the shooting that had taken place at what should have been a “safe place” for her. Our daughter, Michele – Hayley’s mother – called me yesterday morning sometime after 11:00 a.m. to tell me that Hayley was safe. I had not heard the news and was curious… “Safe? Safe from… what?” Michele told me that there was a gunman on campus at Umpqua, but it wasn’t until a few minutes later when postings of the shooting began appearing on Facebook, that I knew the extent of the tragedy. I spent the rest of the day with the TV news on… something that I rarely do during the day.
We thank God that Hayley is safe… that she wasn’t on campus at the time of the shootings… but each one of us, in some way, has been affected by it. Hayley and her older sister, Stephanie, with whom Hayley has been living while going to school in Roseburg, both are connected to the school and the community. The names of those killed and injured haven’t been released yet. Some of them undoubtedly were classmates of Hayley and possibly, Stephanie. Both felt the need to do something… anything… to help. They went to their church to pray for the families in Roseburg. Steph sent me a message saying, “I’m headed to the church for a group prayer now, my heart is broken…” She and Hayley began disseminating information on the need for blood donations and about the planned candlelight vigil held at Stewart Park last night. They posted their appreciation to the emergency responders who had to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy and changed their profile pictures to icons declaring “Roseburg Strong!” and “Pray for Roseburg!”
I think that all of us can feel the pain they were – and are – feeling. Something like this affects us all, shaking our faith in humanity and turns many of us towards our spiritual hope that somehow, in some way, we will overcome the sickness that has invaded certain individuals who apparently believe that, in destroying the lives of others, they can leave their mark.
My heart is with the people and families of Roseburg today. Hopefully, I’ll be able focus on Lorane in next week’s column.
Here is a poem written and sent to me by poet, Kala Cota, a contributor to Groundwaters who lives in Vernonia, Oregon. Kala’s poems have been published in newspapers and books, but her real audience are friends and neighbors who pass her poetry around to share with others…
To Our Friends in the South
Today, I’ll promote kindness, I’ll put it first
It’s my way to counteract the pain and the hurt
I’ll focus on love, on faith, and on hope
The three gifts God gave us to help us to cope
I’m going to pray for the families and friends
For those whose lives were brought to an end
Those that are hurt, may their wounds heal
For everyone involved, it must seem surreal
The police and paramedics, the things they have seen
On their strength and courage we can all lean
Their dedication and service are over the top
We pray that this nightmare comes to a stop
Today, I’ll gather up joy and pass it around
Give someone a smile when I see a frown
Pray for those struggling with too much on their plate
Locked in a world of depression and hate
I won’t find the answer, I don’t know what it is
But love is the gift that we can all give
So, I’m going to share it and when I hit my knees
I’m going to pray, I’ll begin it with “Please”…
“Please heal our country, come into our homes
You’re always right there, we are never alone
Gather up our families in your loving arms
In Your name we pray, Please keep them from harm”
For those caught up in grief, our hearts are with you
When it comes to tears, we’ve shed more than a few
May you feel the love we’re sending your way
May peace and comfort find you today.
Written with love and a grieving heart,
By Kala Cota, a friend up north.