Monday, September 20, 2004

Sometimes I Wonder...

The events of the weekend and thereafter have just been too much for me and I think they're starting to take their toll on me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I really need to get a few things off of my mind, so I'm going to shy away from my usual writing and do a more personal, highly reflective post tonight. Bear with me on this, please.

It is often said that "God works in mysterious ways." This is fascinatingly true statement.

I do not question the work of God, I will never question what he does, but sometimes I can't help but wonder, "why?" The events of the past weekend are undeniable proof of the fact that sometimes God truly does work in mysterious ways.

I suppose it goes back to that idea, "well it'll never happen to me," only, in this case, one might have expected, "it'll never happen to her." Who in the world could have thought for one minute Sunday morning that they'd be hearing the news of the loss of a truly great person in Kaitlyn Dante. Never for the life of me would I have thought anything like this would or could ever happen to somebody of Kaitlyn's caliber. What an awesome person; she was outgoing, funny, smart, kind, talented, beautiful, she was just an amazing individual.

Tragedy similar to this always has, in my opinion, amazing affects on people. During the midst of tragedy, I do my best to help others; that's just one of two ways I deal with it. I credit my 'helping skill' to the Peer Helpers of Hampshire High School. I always enjoyed being a Peer Helper, but I guess I just took for granted what I learned about helping people. To the advisors of the Peer Helper group, and too my fellow Peer Helpers, I don't know if any of you will ever read this--but I am truly thankful to all of you. You taught me what it means to care. I honestly believe that if it weren't for the advising done by this group, I wouldn't have a clue how to react in tragedy.

Tragedy also always inspires reflection. This is the second way I handle situations of this nature. As I sat by myself at times today, I couldn't help but think of how lucky I am. I have always said that I have been blessed with the best friends in the entire world. I wouldn't trade one of my friends for anyone else. I have a wonderful girlfriend who cares for me greatly. I have an awesome family who, even though they didn't experience tragedy (they didn't know Kaitlyn) have called or emailed me throughout the day to make sure I'm OK. I think today I am especially thankful for my friends, more specifically that core group of friends that are right here in Shepherdstown with me--thank you Casey, Jillian, Heather, Bethany, Casey and Bryan for everything you did for me today. You are a remarkable group of people. It may have seemed like I was just fine, but the truth is I wasn't. Being with you helped me immensely, and I hope that I was able to help even just one of you as much as the group of you did me! My support group doesn't stop there, though. I know that out there tonight, in Capon Bridge is Courtney, who would do anything for me. I know that way out there at Wesleyan is Lydia, who has been a true inspiration to me. Savannah in Keyser. Zack and Sara in Morgantown. I don't think that I say it enough--I love you all and I am so thankful that God has blessed me by surrounding me with great people like you.

Like I said before, God works in such mysterious ways. I will never understand why He chose to call Kaitlyn home yesterday, and I suppose in the grand scheme of things it really isn't important that I understand why, nor is it my place to really understand why. The world did, though, without question, lose a great person in Kaitlyn . Although she and I weren't extremely close, she was always there to put a smile on my face. I don't believe in the four years that I have known her that I have ever even ONCE seen her without a huge smily on her face. I don't think I ever passed her in a football game, or in the hallway, or out and about that she didn't stop me and say "hey, Jeff! How are you? How's school?" And when she asked those questions, she was one of the few people who showed general concern for the answers that you'd give. She never asked those questions in passing--she always stopped, looked right in your eyes, and listened to every world. Kaitlyn, we're going to miss you!

It's been very somber here in Shepherdstown. I'm sure it was much the same back home in Romney. It's going to be a tough few days, weeks, and even months. Together, though, with Faith, we'll all get through this.

That's all for today. I'll try to get back on track tomorrow, but I really just didn't have it in me tonight.


At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a great friend - you know I'm here if you need me.


At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff-Thanks so much for taking care of me. Just being here with me as meant so much. Thanks


At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your blog on Google while looking for info. about Kaitlyn Dante...
Kaitlyn's Mom, Rhonda is cousin of mine who I have not seen in many years. I live in Massachusetts and rarely make it back home to W.Va. Thanks for sharing your insight on Kaitlyn ... obviously a wonderful, young woman who I will never get to know.
God Bless.
Amy Jackson Styles, formerly of Fort Ashby

At 6:39 PM, Blogger davide said...

hi jeff.
i think i don't know you but i knew kaitlyn.
i'm an italian student who joined the exchange trip 2004-2005 with hampshire high school three weeks ago.
i had been hosted by zach shackelford,who was kaitlyn's boyfriend. she hosted one of my best friend, giulia.
we leave romney on semptember 14th, five days before that terrible day.
kaitlyn was one of the most kind person i had never met. she was so sweet and always happy... when we knew about what happened we couldn't believe it, we didn't want to believe it...
i think too that God works in mysterious ways... but if we could know what he is going to do, i think that God would not exist. i know that God took her away from us because she was a too beautiful person to stay on earth. she was an angel on earth, now she is an angel in the sky, she's watching us and now she can be with us everywhere we will go...
if you or somebody who read this message knows zach i tell you to help him, he need friendness and love.
if you want to answer me this is my email address:
last but not least if you know something about Rhonda's health please send me an email. thank you
be strong

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Patrick Dante. I am Kaitlyn's Dad. Thanks for your article about Kaitlyn. I really enjoyed reading it and am still amazed at how many lives she has touched. I wanted to let you know that her Mom, Rhonda, is doing well and is now in Rehab. She has a few broken bones, but no long term injurues. We hope to have her home by Thanksgiving. My brother is putting together a website to help raise funds for a scholarship fund in Kaitlyn's name. You can post comments at . Thanks again for your wonderful article. Patrick (


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