Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

It has been a rough couple of weeks here at Shalom. We have had 3 funerals in as many weeks, and the last

two were for people who took their own lives. The most recent funeral,. for Alec Schmidt a local high school

senior, was especially hard on all of us. I am so proud of Shalom and the Pinckney community for how well

they come together to support each other. Living in a small town is an interesting thing. When tragedy strikes,

the entire town feels it. Even if you don’t have kids at the high school, you still knew that there was a profound

sadness that hung in the air in all of the schools. You had a friend or a neighbor who had a personal

connection to the family in one way or another. When you grieve, this small town grieves with you. There is

another interesting characteristic of small towns, though. The same small town that will grieve with you, will

also share your burdens with you. The friends and neighbors that will dry your eyes are the same friends and

neighbors that will build you back up. I feel like my tests and trials are some how less of a burden because I

know that I have a network of people, even if they are strangers, who will help me if I need them. That’s the

small town effect, strangers who will turn into unsung heros if you need them to. Please, use this town to your

advantage. There are so many people who will support you if you are in need. You are not alone. Reach out

to a teacher, doctor, pastor, friend, neighbor, counselor, or contact one of the many support lines. There are

even crisis support lines that you can text if you are not in a position to be able to have a private conversation

(Just test START to 741-741 for crisis support on any topic any time of day.) You are so important and so

loved. I know that Alec was looking down on all of us during the candle light vigil and the funeral, and saw

all of us there to support and love him – I just wish he would have allowed us to support and love him on that

final day. There is no judgement. There is only love. If you need support, please reach out for it. If you have a

friend who is in need of support and you don’t know what to do, please ask for help. We are in this together!