by JAMILA RIZVI
Jessica Redfield was an aspiring sport reporter and blogger. She was raised in Texas, she had red hair and she loved hockey. She was self described as sassy and feisty and she loved social media.
Two days ago, she went to see a midnight screening of Hollywood blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises and along with 11 others, she was killed.
It’s hard to describe the feelings you have when you hear of a tragedy like this. There is something about the normality and the similarity of the lives of those who were killed and our own, which makes us feel it all the more. That sense of remoteness we associate with tragedy and death in war torn countries isn’t there.
It shouldn’t affect us any more or less but it does. Because a part of you thinks: that could have been me. I go to the movies. I order popcorn. I text my friends and change my Facebook status. I tweet that the movie should have started already…
We knew that Mamamia needed to cover this truly awful event. But how? We could use our platform to join the chorus for changes to gun control in the US – a cause we heartily believe in. We could speculate about what makes a murderer; is a killer born or are they raised? We could ask ourselves about the role social media has played in shaping the community’s reaction to what happened.
But it all seems like it’s not enough. Because our words can’t convey to you how it feels to be one of the survivors of that shooting and to be left living in fear. We couldn’t possibly contemplate what the friends and family of the victims are going through today.
But one person could have told you what it’s like to survive an event like this and that is Jessica Redfield. Although she lost her life two days ago, she astonishingly survived a shooting at a food court in Toronto, just months earlier.
At the time, she wrote in her blog about how it felt to get away, how it felt to be given another chance at life and why we should live every minute of life to its fullest.
Her words say more than any of ours could:
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.
RIP Jessica. And to the other 11 victims of this senseless tragedy:
Veronica Moser, 6
Gordon Cowden, 51
Matthew McQuinn, 27
Alex Sullivan, 27
Micayla Medejm 23
John Larimer, 27
Sgt. Jesse Childree, 29
Alexander J. Boik
Jonathan Blunk, 26
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
Alexander C. Teves, 24
[For parents, if your kids have heard or seen the news about Colorado or you think they'll hear about it at school tomorrow, take a quick look at this great post about how to explain tragedy to children: http://www.ivillage.com.au/age-by-age-guide-talking-kids-about-tragedy-and-the-batman-movie-theatre-shooting/150050]