On Friday, July 26, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. CST, the family of Chad Rogers made a public statement that their son’s body had been found in a portable restroom on the campus of South Valley Junior High (now Heritage Middle School) at 11:00 a.m. Friday morning. Chad’s father thanked the many people who helped in the search and rescue efforts, the Liberty businesses who donated food, drinks, time and money, Liberty Christian Fellowship for housing the ‘command center’ for the searches, the Liberty Police Department for their professionalism and sensitivity and the entire Liberty community for rallying around this family while it searched for one of its own.
Liberty Police Department Sgt. Bob Kumpost read a statement that a body had been found, tests were being done, the Jackson County ME would be performing an autopsy, and as soon as the LPD found out solid information, they would share it with the news media (www.kshb.com). Throughout Friday afternoon, evening and nighttime, the Internet and social media were rampant with messages regarding Chad. 34,000 had liked the Facebook page, “BringChadRogersHome”, and within the first hour of the announcements from LPD and his family, over 2,000 entries of condolences had been entered from people literally all over the world.
This morning, my kids are asking me how to deal with this tragedy. How do they make sense of the unexplainable loss of their friend? I remind them that first and foremost, we have to let the legal authorities do their jobs and report their findings to the public instead of relying on wild rumors and speculation that simply are not true. I remind them to T.H.I.N.K. and beg them not to spread gossip either via the Internet or verbally to others.
Instead, my advice to my kids, and all of the people grieving the loss of Chad is this. Right now, feel sad when you need to feel sad. It will come in waves, sometimes when you least expect it. You will be in the middle of something completely unrelated to the situation and something will trigger a memory or an emotion. Let that come; feel it. That is totally an appropriate response, especially in these first days of grief. My second piece of advice is to not use up energy speculating on what might have happened. No helpfulness can come from that. We all want answers, but trying to guess this or guess that is a waste of energy that can be used and funneled into much more productive and helpful ways.
Instead, think of what you CAN do to help the situation as it stands. Donate to the Chad Rogers Memorial Fund c/o US Bank, 1909 W Kansas St. Liberty Mo., 64068, to help his wife, Sarah and 13-month-old son, Matthew. Support friends and family emotionally when they are having a difficult time dealing with this situation or when they are struggling with an everyday task but do not have their normal level of energy or patience because they are exhausted emotionally from the happenings of the past week. Support one another unconditionally.
In 2000’s, Where the Heart Is, Novalee Nation insightfully tells her friend, Lexie, “We’ve all got meanness in us, but we’ve got goodness too. And the only thing worth living for is the good” (www.IMDB.com). Regardless of what results from this investigation regarding Chad’s death, Chad’s loving heart would want us to remember Novalee Nation’s words. In honor of Chad, I will live for the good. Grace and Peace.