The problem right now is that one of the deaths happened half a block from my apartment. When I was walking the dog yesterday morning, I passed by the intersection where it happened about an hour after she died. I didn't mean to, but we walked our normal route and I saw the aftermath of the scene. Her body was gone by then, but the police and emergency crews were still there ... the bus that hit her was still there ... her jacket and shopping bag were still there. And suddenly it was all very real. I went home and I mourned her. I didn't know who it was then. I looked up some details online, but they were limited. For some reason, the jacket seemed familiar to me, and I could not figure out why, but I was concerned that it could have been someone in my building.
Tonight as I was out with the dog again, I ended up walking past the scene of the accident with an older neighbour of mine. She told me that she knew the lady who had been killed, and I was sad for her. Then I realized I knew her too. I didn't know her in the sense of friendship or even as an acquaintance: she worked at the local grocery store. I used to go to her line when I was there because she was always so calm and methodical when she rang groceries up. At first it used to drive me nuts because it would take at least half again the time for her to ring everything up that it would the other cashiers. Then I realized that she never seemed to be at all stressed or agitated, like the rest of us seem to be most of the time. In a really odd way, she reminded me to slow down and do just one thing at a time (not my forte). She was the definition of laconic when she was at work, but without seeming unfriendly. I would see her walking around the area (she lived up the street from her work and, as it turns out, from where she died). Small things like that make this area a community. You see people on a regular basis over time, and you start to feel a connection, however tenuous.
I just wish we could have protected her.
I don't know them, but my condolences go out to her family.