Friday, May 20, 2011

Do you know....

how it is, sometimes, that you just don't know? You don't know what to think, or do, and almost don't know how to feel? Profoundly sad seems to fit, and I guess, "could I have done more?". A young man that I've known only as Kyle,killed himself this morning in the small village where I live. I've only known Kyle for a couple of years, a nice young man in his late 20's or early 30's. A single guy, full of boyish charm and one who bothered to learn the first names of his customers, and remember them. I wish I could remember exactly when he bought the local Super Valu grocery store. I tell myself this is yet another tragedy connected to the Wall St. disaster of 2008. It doesn't feel like it's quite that long ago. I'm thinking it was in 2009. Either way, that financial disaster contributed to his death.

The Valley is a small place,about 1200 souls live here. It's farm country, and while we don't have BIG farms here, we also don't have many small farms anymore. The population of elderly is probably typical. There are 3 housing units of apartments specifically for elderly within the village limits. Often that means no car. They are dependent on help, or a local grocery store. Mostly these days, towns as small as ours doesn't have one. The rush and the crush of our fast paced world sends most(who can) to shop at warehouse chains such as Sam's Club, or WalMart, and the like. Larger volume, lower prices. And in these trying economic times, price is important.
I've watched Kyle struggle. I'm a Mom, first and foremost, and he became one of my "boys". With 3 sons and a pack of grandsons, it felt normal to me to take a few minutes and ask how he was "doing", how it was "going" and to listen, really listen to what he said. It's hard. Hard knowing how important it was to him, and hard knowing how he struggled to keep that small(family owned until him)business going. For most small businesses, these days, viable is up for grabs every day.
He tried everything,higher prices, lower prices, streamlined the selection of goods, trying to keep what people wanted. I watched the staff grow smaller and smaller and him, work more and more hours, even to the extent of doing all the meat cutting himself. It hurts to watch someone try so hard. Your heart aches for them and you want them to succeed, but know how steep the climb is.
I refect today on Lincoln's quote, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation". There's more to the quote, but that part says what I am feeling. I don't feel guilty regarding Kyle's death, just profoundly sad. I shop at our local Super Valu, known in this area, as Ormson's SuperValu. I knew the older Ormson's, husband and wife back in the 1980's. I shopped there when son Tim took over and ran it. I watched younger brother Brian take Tim's place when he couldn't handle it anymore. And then Kyle, buying into a family business. Living his dream. Back in the 1980's I shopped for a houseful, DH, my Dad and 4 growing children. Now I'm just one person with a fat black cat. I buy(or bought)as much as I am able locally. I know WalMart would save me money, but I also know how much the Valley needs this local grocery store. The next nearest is 20 miles. What the future holds for our Valley in terms of groceries, time will tell. I know what Kyle's suicide means for those seniors who walk with their little carts to get groceries at our store, and for the 5 or 6 employees whose employment status changed abruptly this morning. And what is the point of all this post? Why am I telling you about it? It's simple, I'm on my soapbox to remind all of us. Despite the hustle-bustle of a rapidly moving world, we are EACH just one small piece. Not different than ONE SMALL PIECE you'd put in a quilt. Alone, we are just THAT, but together we make something larger than ourselves. Knowing that, we need to truly see what happens around us. Your awareness may not change the course of things, but then again, it might.

21 comments:

Mary said...

How sad for Kyle's family and your town.

Amelia said...

This loss is like a part of you died also....such a tragedy! Does this mean the store will close the doors?

Have a great weekend!

julieQ said...

OH, Finn...what sad news. Wish I could hug you, I know that those children we hug to our hearts are just as important as the ones from our wombs....so sorry.

Angie said...

Oh dear Finn, I am so so sorry. For you, for him and his family and loved ones, for me------for all of us. It seems as if living in today's world just takes more energy and fight than some of us feel we have left to give. I am so sad for all of you. Sending quilted hugs to wrap you and Ms. Ebby in. With love, Angie

Nancy said...

This post wrenched my heart. My prayers for Kyle's family and your community as each individual reels from this tragedy.

Julie in the Barn said...

This is so sad, Finn. This insane Randian view that everyone should quit expecting help and just think only of themselves that has engulfed so many in our country is so depressing. We must overcome this pervasive shelfishness and restore a sense of community somehow. I mourn the loss of this young man who lost hope.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Buying locally, shopping locally, doing as much business as possible locally is absolutely crucial.

There are so many deep factors here. Going bankrupt doesn't make you kill yourself but not believing you still live a life of value and live it without pain, inside and out, does. Depression and suicide have wracked the lives of so many families in America throughout so many era's.

It is a miracle when we have the strength to keep going even when we have given up on life and living in all ways. His own personal pain is now over, but the lives of all who loved him and whose lives, like yours, that he touched are still impacted forever. There but for the grace of God for all of us, Finn.

Big, big hug for the people of you town and for you and your family who knew him.

Scrappy quilter said...

How profoundly sad for this young man. I agree with every word and I totally agree with what Julie in the Barn said. Sending warm hugs to you dear friend.

Sara said...

I'm sad with you.

Dolores said...

How truly sad to lose such a person. The world is a little worse off for it.

quiltmom said...

Finn,
As always, a reflective poignant post filled with love and caring for a young man who could not see that there were some alternatives for him.
So sad for his family and friends and for your community.
My sincere condolences for all that lost Kyle.
Warmest regards,
Anna

Clare said...

The younger generation (stop sniggering!) are trying their hardest to make it in an ever more difficult financial climate. I feel so sorry for them, watching them try so hard, to no avail. I'm dreading it when DD leaves lycée in 2 years.

I hope someone picks up the reins and reopens the store. Small communities like yours need it. Not the huge out of town shopping malls.

Big hugs dear friend.

Mrs Moen said...

I am so sorry tor your community, Finn. Losing anyone before their time is sad, and even sadder when it happens by their own hands.

Linda_J said...

Just sad for his family, those who knew him, his customers and employees.

I can sorta understand what you are going thru. The loss of life with the tornadoes recently has me questioning why and how could that happen. What could God's plan possibly be. Could this have been prevented.

Stephanie D. said...

Such a sad situation; even sadder knowing that he thought there was no other way out. Saddest that my nephew clings to life by a thread, an innocent victim of nature, while someone so healthy shuns the gift of life.

What can one say?

McIrish Annie said...

It hurts to watch our young people struggle so in this economy. Just a young man trying to make his way. I can't imagine the overwhelming feelings he had that led him to his decision. Big business doesn't seem to see the face of this. I'm sorry for you and your town.

Chris said...

Finn, what a wonderful post and a wonderful tribute to that young man. I am glad you wrote this even though the topic is sad and your sadness and frustration is very evident. We all need to be reminded that we are part of something not just alone in this world. Our every action affects someone else. We may not know it at the time or ever but we are all part of everyone else.

Rhonda G said...

A wonderful heart wrenching post. The economy seems to be affecting many families in many different ways. We had a single mom working nights next door. Her 9 year old son committed suicide last month. He was alone all the time, and I guess he just couldn't take it anymore. Sad thing is, his mom was quitting her night job in two more days. All so very very sad.

Purple Pam said...

I am sorry for the loss of this young man and his dreams. I am sorry for the cost to the community. I am sorry someone came up with the idea of "big box stores". I am really sorry more people do not support their smaller, more intimate community businesses.

Sweet P said...

How sad for you, the family and the valley. He will be missed.

Sharon Dallman said...

Like trees in the forest, when the wind blows their branches move in unison; they are all connected at the roots. What a sad thing that this young man saw no one out there to cling to when his wind blew so hard. I know what tragedy feels like but I have always had the things necessary to get me by; faith and hope. I try to smile at everyone I see and tell them hello and or good morning when I am out on my daily walk. You never know what is going on in their day and your smile and cheery attitude may be just that flicker of light that makes their candle shine...

In happier thoughts I really enjoyed seeing your photos and reading your blog, the parts I had time to anyway. :-->)