A guilty plea has been made, the story is out and things are coming to a close.  What is left now is for the family of Mickey Shunick and the family of Lisa Pate to be able to make some peace with what has happened.

I can't begin to know what this feels like.  Losing a daughter, sister, friend is something that I just have not had to deal with.  What I can say is that likely this is a feeling that you wouldn't wish on anyone.  Particularly in a situation where a young girl is cut down in the prime of her life.  This is something that for most of us will go away in a few weeks.  For the family and friends of these women, this will not ever go away.  Family gatherings will always be that reminder that someone is missing.

In this community, I have observed some of the most caring and concerned people reaching out to help.  A community mobilized to find one lost soul.  People provided eyes and ears and hearts to give what was needed and hoped beyond hope that Mickey would be found and that she was alive.  That hope was not to be, but the community can be proud that in the time of need, they reached out and helped another family.  For many, it was a friend in need.  For others, it was a total stranger.  That didn't matter for many.  For them, the Shunick family was a family like their own.  They reached out a helping hand and made a difference.

For now, there is another need.  Not a need like the first one, where people needed to mobilize.  This need is far, far different.  This is a quiet one.  This is one where the family needs people to extend their comfort, their understanding, their hearts.  The community has lost one, but it has gained a sense that we are all in this together.  That togetherness must continue.  For the sake of the family and for each of us.  We would want to be treated as the family has been if it were our family faced with such a tragedy.  May we all extend the hand of comfort.  May we all extend our thoughts and prayers.  While we may not totally understand.  We do want these families to know that we are there for them.  And indeed, we are.