Yesterday was one of those days that sinks down deep into your spirit. From Southeast Georgia to Brentwood Tennessee, lives were changed, and not for the better. Georgia Southern, a relatively small school as Universities go, was left reeling in the wake of the news. Five. Five students gone. Five friends lost. Five daughters whose mothers will never hear their voices again, and we are left to wonder, “Why?” We hear “car wreck” and a cold chill rolls through us because we’ve all had close calls. Some closer than others. We all feel the tragedy.

On social media, profile pictures and avatars that were once “selfies” with friends have been changed to the eagle, GSU’s mascot, crying a single tear.

It never makes sense. It always hurts. There is always grief and shock.

Not our town. Not our school. Not my friends. Not in my sorority.

Some of us are not as close, and the hurt will fade. In a few days or weeks, our profile pictures will go back to the standard self-shots from cell phones of all of us living our lives as we always do. Our lives will go back to normal.

And that is not a bad thing. This sort of pain and shock is not meant to stop us from living. This sort of pain is meant to remind us to live, and to do so in honor of those lives cut short. But as we – those of us who are four, five, six degrees from this tragedy – go back to our normal lives in the days to come, let us remember those who are at ground zero of this loss. A month from now, say a prayer for the families. A year from now, let them know that these precious lives that were lost are not forgotten.

Today, we are all Eagles.

My heart is bent today with grief for the families and friends of those lost in this tragic accident. May you find peace and strength to walk through the pain, and friends to carry you when the walking is too great a struggle. May you find the light of hope in this dark time. May you feel the prayers and love from the community of which these young women were a part.

Today, we are all Eagles, and we weep with Georgia Southern’s loss, and yours.

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