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Thursday, July 22, 2021

50 Too Many

Memorial angel painting by Betsy Levels













Good bloggers are supposed to keep things cheery and upbeat.  Guess I'm already going to step out of line.  What I have to say here is far from cute or catchy.

I should not have needed to paint this painting.

This girl was beautiful.  And only 17.  And murdered.  

She never got to fulfil her potential.  We will never even know what that might have been.  She might have been a teacher.  A mother.  A scientist.  An artist.  She might have become someone famous whose portrait would be painted many times over. Instead, she became our community's fiftieth murder victim.  Some yet unknown person stole this girl's future.

I painted her as an angel, because I felt compelled to put something on canvas in her memory.  I had the painting sent to her family. I never met them or their child. I just hurt with them.

 I made the background purple because my church dresses the altar in purple to symbolize mourning.  I later found out she loved the color. Maybe my hand was getting guidance from somewhere else on that.  I painted white lillies in the painting, as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, because I do believe we pass from this world into another.  And I painted a small necklace around her neck with a broken heart showing the number 50, because that is how many families had had their hearts broken by the murder of a loved one in our town this year.  Fifty too many. That was a week ago.  

There have been more since.

This town is not any different from any other town this size.  It's the same everywhere.  People are walking around shooting each other like life was just a big video game.

For God's sake, just stop. Stop. Stop!

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