03-23, When Chaos Curtails Our Comfort

An unlikely vehicle at one of the locations at the grocery chain I frequent most, now a scene of a deadly shooting -Photo, NY Post

I’m an avid grocery shopper. I love to do so. Grocery stores have long been a haven for me, easily among my happiest places to be. I’m enchanted with the vibrant displays and colors, the abundance of fresh foods and culinary comforts. I appreciate the aisles of ample necessities, and I cherish the coffee cafes often built within; but, what do we do when havens become hellish? What happens when we are thrust from daily regularities to dire realities? I was forced to wrestle with these questions after the chain of stores that I frequent the most was the center of a deadly shooting too close to home.

I recently moved to Colorado after living in Texas for 37 years. As my mother and siblings feel far away, I gravitated to the King Soopers chain because they were owned by a large company that I recognized from Houston – Krogers. They even carry a wealth of Krogers products on their shelves. I quickly recognized that their self-check out machines are exactly the same, and shopping there just felt like home. So, despite where I am in various cities (as I often have business in Denver and other neighboring cities, away from my residence), I look for this store in particular.

While shopping at a teacher supply store on yesterday for my students, I received a most disturbing alert. I was advised to avoid the King Sooper store in Boulder due to an active shooter who had not yet been apprehended. Apparently, my husband had put an app on my phone that informed me though I was unaware it had ever been downloaded. I quickly went home shortly thereafter, following a live news feed my younger brother had sent me from Houston regarding the incident. I viewed it with shock and horror.

I weighed many of the complexities in disbelief, and was quite shaken as my trips to the store have greatly increased since the pandemic. My four growing boys seem to have insatiable appetites, and though I consider myself an effective shopper (and often buy in bulk), it seems their stomachs are bottomless. I’m in these stores two to three times a week; sometimes several days in a row. My purchases are often as random as those who were in the store yesterday, yet ten of them lost their lives.

I often tell my family and friends that I love them – quite randomly. When they ask why, I always remark, “You never know what will happen. What if I didn’t wake up tomorrow? I might not see you again.” Some think its dark or melancholy, but I consider that people often leave their homes in the morning with the assumption they’ll return in similar fashion, only to discover that they will take their last breath. I don’t want to say, “I wish I would have told them how much I really love them.” Instead, I intentionally express it many ways – all the time.

Life…is precious. It is short, it is fleeting, and it is fragile. As we can’t predict our longevity nor final moments, it is incumbent upon us to make every moment count. I especially encourage my fellow writers (and everyone) to capture events in your lives with your whole heart, your mind, your camera, your pen, your words – and engrave it in your soul so that it can be treasured forever. Our comforts in life often make the journey easier and can remind us of how blessed we are. Let’s not let chaos triumph in such a way that it robs us of the gifts we will never be able to replace.

Many prayers and condolences to the families whose lives are forever changed by this tragedy. On their behalf, and for the sake of us all, may we love fully and fervently as if everyday was our last.


8 thoughts on “03-23, When Chaos Curtails Our Comfort

  1. Thank you Carla for this love letter to all of us. I remember living in Northern Virginia when a sniper killed a woman in the corner I always stopped for shopping and putting gas to my car with my then 4 years old son. The fear of getting out of the car to grab the gas knob and the thought that a random bullet could kill my son, haunted me until they got the sniper.
    My kids and husband think that I’m dramatic when I tell them similar things that you tell your beloved ones. Keep telling them. We need to hear more voices like yours. My thoughts are with you and all the families that lost a loved one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Pia,

      Thank you – for reading. I can’t imagine how terrible that must have been with that constant and gnawing terror.

      I felt a most unsettling fear of my own tonight while returning to the grocery store with one of my older sons. As we were paying for our food at a self checkout, we heard a loud sound that I couldn’t identify – but quickly made an unpleasant association to.

      I turned around to discover that a customer had accidentally dropped a glass bottle that seemed to explode with carbonated beverage. For a brief moment, I was so frightened. I thought about the incident, the gun shots, my son…

      It felt traumatizing just thinking about it in the store. I was reminded of your words on tonight and how differently it feels when it hits closer to home.

      I don’t think you’re dramatic at all. I’m so glad to know that you are sharing your love – as we all should. Thank you so much for listening to my heart – particularly when some things aren’t so easy to share.

      Your thoughts are sincerely appreciated.

      With Warmest Regards,

      ~Carla Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry about this and I can imagine how close it must feel to you. I agree about always saying you love people. I was in the big earthquake in Haiti in 2010, and I think that is what sealed it with me – I don’t like to leave things unsaid. You just never know if this is your last opportunity to say it. ❤ Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Haitiruth,

      Bless you for your kindness and consolation. I remember looking at the images during the Haith earthquake with a broken heart. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be there in such a terrifying moment.

      I couldn’t agree with you more on the things unsaid. I’ve experienced so much trauma and unexpected loss in my life that I’m convinced, it’s always important to say what matters most.

      Thank you so much for sharing these reminders with us all. I am most appreciative.

      ~Carla Michelle


  3. These lines – thank you. “I especially encourage my fellow writers (and everyone) to capture events in your lives with your whole heart, your mind, your camera, your pen, your words – and engrave it in your soul so that it can be treasured forever.” I am glad you are safe and my heart goes out to all who lost someone yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Clare,

      It is an honor and pleasure to know that my post has come across your page and been received in such a warming way. I can honestly say as I wrote these words, I felt them with such intensity and sincerity – because I believe them.

      There are few gifts for which I’ve been more thankful than the privilege of being able to communicate with words what I feel in my heart. I feel equally blessed to read the poignant posts of so many in this community, responses included, and to know that the admonishment that I’ve shared is already embraced by so many.

      Thank you for inspiring me to write more – and to write better. How encouraging it is for a writer to write and know that their words will be read.

      I extend my gratitude for your kind thoughts and affirmations along this journey. They’ve made a monumental difference to me.

      With Warmest Regards,

      ~Carla Michelle


  4. Yes your post is full of love and compassion and the desire to make the most of everyday life, so we capture the unease you must have felt as you frequent that particular store. A good idea to randomly tell people you care for them as you do never know what might happen next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear livinglife816287820,

      You have spoken a true word indeed. My many losses personally have reminded me of such, and I never take it lightly. There is nothing more beautiful than love to me – and I believe it can conquer a multitude of evil.

      Thank you kindly for sharing your sentiments and insight with me. I greatly appreciate it.

      With Warmest Regards,

      ~Carla Michelle


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