Grief should linger like gentle mist. It should have a light, but noticeable presence. It should lessen over time.
That's from an early January of 2007 post that pointed readers of this site to a transparent and caring story by Scott Bass in Style Weekly that revisited the emotional, spiritual and community spirit that erupted from a city split wide open with fear and grief, and then just grief, a year earlier as details emerged about the brutal deaths of two South Richmond families. It was the loss of the Harvey family -- Bryan and Kathryn, and their young daughters, Stella and Ruby -- that touched some of the deeper chords in the collective subconscious of the broader community, and that cut deeply into the hearts of the broad, eclectic community with personal connections to the Harveys.
Grief has lingered, and it has diminished. Those closest still hurt, and those at the farthest periphery have released the memories of the first few weeks of 2006. Those of us in between discover reminders as we move through our own lives, and pause to reflect on the nature of loss, and of hope.
Just before Christmas, my wife and my mother and I were visiting my grandmother's grave in Hollywood Cemetery. We drove by the Harvey family plot, which fittingly overlooks Oregon Hill and the William Byrd Community Center. Nikole and I stood at the graveside quietly for a moment, thinking of our own daughter due to arrive into our lives in May. As we drove off, we noticed the Lennon/McCarthy quote on the back of the family's memorial stone -- "And, in the end, the love you take/ Is equal to the love you make."
(Painting by Richmond artist Laura Loe.)