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.
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