Over the past couple of weeks there have been two tragedies in places that hit too close to home. Tragedies involving two beautiful girls, inside and out, who had their whole lives ahead of them. And it could have been any one of us.
Ohio State University student Reagan Tokes was abducted, raped, and brutally shot while leaving the restaurant where she worked.
Miami University student Erica Buschick was found dead in her dorm room after a night of binge drinking.
I can’t wrap my head around these tragedies. My heart just breaks for these girls and their families as they mourn the short lives they lived and the lives they still had to live.
I’ve walked alone so many times before and felt invincible. You heard stories of other students getting raped but it didn’t seem real. “That would never happen to me” I would tell myself as I sprinted home from the bars at 2 a.m.
The bars, where I drank until I sometimes couldn’t remember anything the next day. Am I proud of that? No. Not in the least bit. I was young and I was stupid. I was testing the waters and had yet to learn my limits. Even though people told me the affects of alcohol, that was the last thing I remembered when people were passing back a round of shots.
The point is, my story could have ended differently. Your story could have ended differently. A lot of the lessons we learn in life result in us learning on our own. People can tell us “don’t date that guy” or “don’t get a puppy” but we do it anyways and we learn on our own.
Drinking to excess and walking alone at night are not lessons that can be learned on our own. By then, it can be too late. I wish I could scream from the rooftops all of the lessons I wished I had taken to heart and listened to when I was in college. That I wasn’t invincible and I wasn’t on top of the world. It felt like it, but these two tragedies are a reminder that these things happen to real people. To two girls, at one university I spent countless weekends at and another one where I spent the best four years of my life.
And it breaks my heart that these women won’t have the same experiences I did. That their lives were forever affected by things that we’ve all probably done numerous times and not thought twice about it.
I pray these families find the strength to make it through this difficult time. And that these girls are remembered for the wonderful people they were.
I also pray that other girls take these tragedies to heart and understand the severity. That these were our sisters, real people, who didn’t deserve to have their lives end the way they did. Regardless if they made certain decisions leading to that point or not, two young girls lost their lives way too soon.