This should not have happened, but it did.

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

I spontaneously called my sister Sunday morning, asking if they would like to go with me to Cradlestone Mall. We would go to a shop or two looking for a monitor, then have a nice cup of coffee before we go home.

Unbeknown to us, 7 armed robbers were planning to rob a jewellery store at the Mall during that time. I am sure they must have had it in their minds that they would shoot to kill should it be necessary and should anyone hinder them from what they have set out to achieve that morning.

The five of us decided to order a very tasty calorie packed focaccia and margherita to share - we were oblivious to what was unfolding in the mall, as we were having fun and making memories.

In a matter of seconds everything changed. What was a peaceful, joyful moment turned into a fear filled experience. We had to hide. People were running, screaming. Not knowing exactly what was happening in that moment, everyone retreated to the back of the restaurant and waited.

We soon found out there were armed robbers in the mall, shooting. We waited.

Anxiously, fearfully.

We had 3 children with us – they had been victims of an armed robbery at their home before. There we were – we waited. Uncertain. Scared.

And then, an overwhelming sense of protection kicked in. I would have done whatever was necessary to protect my family. I was prepared to do anything to protect.

𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗼𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗮𝘆. The guard who responded to a call and was shot, the off-duty policemen who put their lives in danger to protect civilians. Restaurant owners who kept us informed, provided us with water. My wonderful partner who didn’t think twice when I called him - he got into his car immediately and rushed to the Mall to fetch us and make us feel safe. And then, every single person who walked away from the mall on Sunday, who experience this horrific event and who has to decide what to do with this memory.

It is not the story that matters, but what we do with it. Not a single thing about what happened that day can be changed, nothing. But I am deeply aware of the fact that I have a choice as to what I will do with Sunday’s experience. What will I take with me into my future, what will I leave behind? How will I process things? Will I focus on growing from this unfortunate event or behave like a victim? Will I be kind to myself and allow myself to feel and acknowledge my emotions, even if it could sometimes be overwhelming, and even feel wrong?

This should not have happened, to anyone, ever! But it did!

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

This is for every person who wakes up every day and struggles to find meaning. This is for every person who asks, “why me”. This is for every person who experiences adversity, who is grieving, who is ill. This is for every person who hurts. This is for every person who feel they have reached the end of the road. This is for every person who feels trapped in a dark place.

𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐮𝐦𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐧𝐯𝐢𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮. 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐢𝐭! 𝐇𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐬 𝐘𝐎𝐔, 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭.

𝗕𝘂𝘁, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝘀𝗲!

Choose life, choose personal growth, choose to rise above circumstances, above pain, above adversity.

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝘀𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗹, 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗮 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗿.

Life is still a beautiful experience, bad things happen indeed, but we can rise above it.

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