Please forgive me because this is not going to be one of my usually upbeat ramblings.
Jorelys Rivera was laid to rest today. For those of you outside the metro Atlanta area, Jorelys is a 7-year old girl who was sexually assaulted and fatally beaten allegedly by a 20-year old maintenance worker who police say snatched the girl from her apartment complex playground.
This story, rightly so, dominated local news coverage over the past week. And with each retelling, my sadness turned quickly to anger and just as fast back to sadness.
A lingering feeling that’s been bothering me every since news of this story broke is that this tragedy could just have easily fallen upon my little girl. You see, before moving into Casa McCullough, we lived in an apartment complex very similar to the residence where Jorelys lived, an apartment complex with a playground, and what’s truly disturbing, an apartment complex with seemingly nondescript somewhat interchangeable maintenance personnel. There were times Zoe wanted to go outside by herself, but being the Apache attack chopper of the helicopter parent that I am, she never set foot on the playground without me or Mrs. M within pouncing distance.
I don’t want to get too spiritual here, but I am a man of faith and I like to think it’s unwavering, but things like the brutal death of a child can really leave one asking seemingly unanswerable questions. Why did this (or any) child have to die? What would compel this sick son of a bitch – allegedly – to hurt this little girl? Of course, the general catch all question – why do bad things happen to good people?
There’s not much more to say – except to say a prayer for Jorelys and her family.
Keep the faith, even when it’s easier said than done.