This is my first post in quite a while. I’ve laid aside a good many false starts as I tried to determine what to write. I finally decided it wouldn’t be inappropriate to share a transparent insight into my state of mind. My husband’s injury and the long road back have been stressful, and our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted in challenging ways. Having committed to becoming an advocate, many of the things I must become informed about are heart-wrenching. Assuming an obligation to speak on behalf of others can sometimes be overwhelming. Some days my heart just hurts!
A lot of what I read is painful to process. There are so many difficult descriptions of those who have lost their lives and of others who’s lives will never, ever, be the same! I grieve deeply with and for those individuals. The countless situations in which law enforcement and our judicial system have acted in ways which are prejudicial toward vulnerable road users angers me. Statistics demonstrate that deaths and injuries of VRUs just keeps increasing, and I’m appalled to see this entire issue continue to spin out of control.
The rhetoric related to these issues is very often incredibly divisive! Attitudes and opinions are frequently expressed in ways that are disrespectful of others. Because it is such an emotionally charged topic, it is far too tempting to close our ears (and our minds) to what anyone else has to say. Angry demands refuse to take into account the rights of other road users. Those of us who are broken and grieving don’t always express ourselves in the most appropriate ways.
Too often, the entire topic becomes a heated battle between “US” and “THEM”. And, clearly, that mentality is not changing things – far too many users of our roadways continue to be injured and killed needlessly! Finger pointing, name calling, and blaming/shaming further complicate the issue and build walls against productive dialogue.
The powerful emotions this situation provokes are with me every single day. I’m haunted by the heart-breaking stories of damage, death, and loss! I’m horrified at how little consideration is given to VRUs in the vast majority of situations! I’m infuriated that so many accept unequitable treatment without question! I’m heartbroken that these devastating circumstances become “soapboxes” to fuel even more anger!
Choosing to surround myself with these issues, to continue building awareness about things that it would be easier to not dwell on, does come with a costly price-tag. My emotions are like a roller-coaster, sometimes taking me to some pretty distressing places. But these are the very places somebody has to be willing to go! Somebody has to be a voice, has to keep encouraging others to speak up. Even on the rough days, I have to recognize that the emotional sacrifice is a small price when compared to all the potential good that can come from continuing to speak up!
Yes, friends, I’m still here; and am determined to remain in this place. A painful, uncomfortable place for sure. But one that is vitally important! In the words of someone I deeply admire, “I won’t give up, shut up, or let up”! I promise!