Updated: Aug 18
Disclosure: This post was written the day after the tragic event took place. Due to the high sensitivity of the matter, I decided it would be best if I waited a couple of days to publish it. I needed a break from it as well. A week has passed, and I still can't recall it with any less sadness and sorrow for all involved and their family members, especially the bystander fatalities. And I’m so thankful for the brave men and women who put their lives at risk for the sake of others, although it appears to some, no matter how hard they try, it's never good enough.
Today I woke up with my heart very heavy. The events that followed the jewelry store robbery at Coral Gables yesterday are very unfortunate. I can't help but think any of us could have been victims of such violence.
Me during a recent visit to Coral Gables. Miracle Mile is one of my favorite spots around South Florida. I love the beautiful landscaping—from the tall palm trees to the colorful flowers to the elegant front store windows to the patterns of the pavers on the ground. I felt relaxed, peaceful, and joyful just by being there. But not today.
Every day when I take my daughter to school, I drive by a cemetery. I usually take a different route when I pick her up. There is another cemetery on that route as well. They are never unnoticed. I lost count of how many times I've seen green tents standing in the distance or police officers escorting the friends and family members of ones whose life has ended.
I can't help but think about the stories of those in a graveyard or how it all came to an end, keeping in mind we all will experience that one day—we never see a sunset again, at least not from this side of Earth. I tell my daughter we are just like peanuts inside shells. I believe that one day we are going to be leaving our little shell here, but as the peanut that gets removed from inside of it, we will move on to somewhere else instead of just vanishing completely out of existence.
I don’t believe we are just a physical body. I think we are body, spirit, and soul. Not to say I am right, but this is just what I believe. The last couple of times I've seen someone deceased was during my husband's grandparents’ funerals. I did not enjoy looking at them or spending time around a casket. Some do. I guess the peaceful looks of their loved ones faces helps them to cope with their loss. To me, it's quite the contrary; I don't even think they look like themselves anymore simply because they are just not there anymore. In my mind, that's just an empty shell.
Yesterday after picking up my daughter from school and while she was taking a nap, I got a notification from a news app about a police chase in Miami after a robbery at a jewelry store in Coral Gables. It was right by the Miracle Mile, across from City Hall where my family has been so many times. I could recognize the spot right in front of the store since we've taken pictures around the area that I love so much. But today, the mood when I think about it, has completely shifted into something bitter; mournful.
It all started when two criminals decide to rob a store believing they could get away with it. Turns out, they were mistaken. With their unwise, selfish and evil choices, they caused many to cry for the ones that are now gone, not to mention the shame they have put on their own family members’ shoulders. When I put myself in their relatives shoes, I wonder about their reaction when they learned the ones creating all the chaos were related to them . . .
As soon as I saw the notification, I started to watch the news on my phone while lying on the bed next to my daughter. It didn't take long until I decided to send a message to my husband who was commuting home from Broward, where the chase was heading. I notified some of my friends from the run club as well. It turns out, not only had my husband witnessed the police chase along the expressway heading north while he was coming south, a couple of friends did as well. One of them even mentioned he thought the police were escorting the UPS truck due to something very valuable it was transporting until realizing by the number of police cars that there had to be something more serious than that going on.
At this moment, I can only feel thankful none of them were hurt by the shootout that took place during the high-speed chase on the expressway. Unfortunately, an innocent bystander and the UPS driver whose truck was highjacked weren't as lucky. This saddens me deeply.
Any one of us; it could have been any one of us driving home from work or bringing our children home. I hate to think about the guy who woke up yesterday and got ready to take his truck on his route, apparently for the first time, and never made it home to his family. I pray God will bring comfort to his family and others who lost loved ones. I hope He gives them all the strength, because they will need plenty of it. If it is sad and enraging; I wasn't even directly affected by it and can only imagine how horrible each and every one of their friends and relatives feel at this moment. I also can't stop thinking about what went through the driver’s mind—or the employees at the jewelry store, or the innocent bystander’s mind—when they felt the gunshot(s). This is all just too sad for me.
On the other hand, I am very thankful for the amazing law enforcement officers involved and how they helped to prevent the situation from getting even worse. I've heard many times from different people I would be a great cop because of my personality. I always tell them they are completely wrong. Being part of law enforcement requires at least two very important and distinctive traits: bravery and selflessness. I don't claim to possess either of them, but I am very grateful for those different them me who wake up every day, put their uniform on, and go out to the streets to fight evil. The ones who are real-life heroes with no fancy super powers. I am humbled by these brave men and women who put their lives on line every day to protect people they don't even know. They can only do so much. But I am also sure yesterday, as many other days, they did their best with all the resources they had available. I can't thank each and every single one of them, human beings just like each one of us, who were able to give a clear message to anyone thinking about doing what those now-gone criminals did, that they won't get away with it.
I am very proud to know a very brave man who was part of yesterday's task force and am happy to know he is safe. I do pray for the officers involved in the tragic events that unfolded yesterday. May God bless them and keep them and their families safe. I hope they can heal their hearts from what they've witnessed and were part of yesterday.
I just can't understand how can so many people take these courageous folks for granted. I wish we all could be capable of realizing that just like us, they feel fear but that doesn't stop them from doing their incredible job. For that, I will be eternally grateful!
My prayer for today is that God will heal the hearts of all the family members of yesterday’s victims. That He will provide a speedy recovery to those injured and that He will bless all law enforcement men and women who were part of yesterday events (and many others we civilians are unaware of) and that He will keep them safe and help them to heal their hearts from what their eyes witnessed.
Writing this today didn't make my heart any lighter, but I guess like everybody else, I will take it one day at a time.