Sunday, May 30, 2010

One Of The Most Horrifying Days Of My Life

Today, in theory, was supposed to be a good day.  I went to the beach in NC for the first time since moving here 3 years ago.  I love the ocean.  I love the waves, the noise, the sand, everything.  It's one place in the world where I feel truly relaxed.
My friends and I were driving around looking for a parking space when I got a text message.  It was from my friend Jen, who wrote, "Rachel, thank God you aren't at work today.  There was a shooting."  I read it and it took a minute to process.  Since I know Jen from Target and not my full time job, AND it was Sunday, I knew what "work" she was talking about.  And I freaked out.  I called her.  She told me someone had walked into Target with a gun and shot and killed a cashier.  I am a cashier.  I know every single cashier who works there, some better than others, but I know EVERY.  SINGLE.  ONE.  She is telling me in a crying rush, "Rachel, Becca is in there, Michael is in there, Nick and Camille and Dawn are in there..." and these are all names of good friends, bosses, but it doesn't even really matter at this point because I am thinking of everyone, all my friends and all the people I dislike and I can't stand the thought of this happening to a single one of them.  Her and I hang up with the promise to call if we hear anything, and it's the beginning of a very long couple of hours to put everything together.  I am thinking it was a random shooting.  I am remembering the final episode of Grey's, and realizing that people that I know are actually living this fictional nightmare.  It is REALITY.  I wonder if more than one person is dead, I wonder who it is, I pray to God that people are safe, I cry and shake uncontrollably for a while.  My friends don't know what to do, one is rubbing my shoulders, they are telling me it's ok, and I don't really remember how but we found a parking space.
To make this long story short, we eventually found out that it was not a random killing.  It was a man with a purpose, who wanted to kill his ex girlfriend.  He went to the end of the checklane behind her and shot her in the back.  He had apparently no desire to kill anyone else, and that is one small thing I find comfort in.  There was obviously panic and chaos and terror and screaming as people fled the store.  Apparently this coward of a man killed himself when confronted with the police.
I do not really discuss religion or my beliefs on this blog, but I have to say that it was only by the grace of God that I was not there today.  I rarely take weekend days off, but as you know, I had taken a long weekend for the holiday to give myself a break.  Other than today, I work basically almost every single Sunday.  I most likely would have been there.  What would I have done??  My biggest fear in life is dying by a violent act.  I know everyone fears this, but it's actually something that I think about.  I have had thoughts about what I would do if there was a shooting at Target, and I honestly think had I been there today, something inside of me would have probably broken and never been repaired.  I think God knew this.  I think He gives us no more than we can handle, and He knew I would not be able to handle this.  I think He had a hand in making sure no one else was hurt or killed.  I imagine all my coworkers, not knowing what was happening, running out in panic and fear, and it kills me.  It kills me. 
This has now made national news.  It is on CNN, and you can read about what happened.  Don't read the comments underneath the story.  I made that mistake and I am so angry I can barely type this out.  To the person who said all people who work for the Target store are stupid and uneducated, fuck you may you never ever be in this position.  Not one person that I know that works there is stupid.  They are doing their best in this rough economy.  They are me, trying to supplement a really good income to support more than themselves.  And they are her.... and mother and grandmother, who worked because it gave her something to do. 
So to end this, I want to say:

Guadalupe F. Rosas,
I am devastated that this happened to you.  I know you and I got off on the wrong foot when I started and for this I am so sorry.  I am grateful that we were able to put this aside and became good acquaintances over the past few months.  I am happy that I got to work next to your register last weekend and have a conversation.  Thank you for being interested in my life and asking so many questions, and for telling me a little bit about you.  I know you are a private person, and that I didn't know you very well, but I can say that you were a very classy woman and that I will miss you.  I will never ever forget this day, and I pray to God that what happened to you, happened quickly and you didn't feel pain.  You don't deserve to feel that kind of pain.  You deserve to be with God now, and at peace.  Please rest in peace.  I will be praying for your family and for you.  I am so sorry this happened.

I need to go now.  Please, everyone say an extra prayer for this woman who worked at Target to stay busy, who had children and grandchildren, who had a smile for everyone and who was taken too soon.


Candance said...

I am so sorry this happened where you worked and to someone you know. It's also really sad that another woman is dead because of an disgruntled spouse. Makes me wonder how many more women are going to have to die before someone somewhere starts taking domestic violence seriously.

Anonymous said...

I am so terribly sorry for what has happened. It is terrible and words cannot say things to heal you must do it on your own. I wish you comfort in your time of upset and know that each day will get easier. I am also deeply saddned for Guadalupe F. Rosas. May she rest in peace.

Rachel said...

Thanks Candance. The funeral was today, totally horrible.. we are all just trying to pull through it.

And Jen, thank you very much for the kind words!!