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Heartbreak Graffiti (by Carl Grover)


This news story was published on April 21, 2012.
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While walking my yellow lab, Chloe, through East Park, I noticed some spray painted words on the Winnebago River Trail Bridge. As I got closer I realized that this was not what you might consider ordinary vandalism.

Though faded, yet still legible are the names Darrion Rambo, Jasmine Barrientes and Zach Graney, along with the letters R.I.P.

The point of this column isn’t to open old wounds or rant about vandalism.

If anything, friends or relatives that happen to walk across that bridge might find their own wounds unexpectedly re-opened by a hastily thought out ‘tribute’ that might be better defined as heartbreak graffiti.

No doubt, the loss of so many young lives in such a short period of time was very difficult for family and friends and that pain was surely felt throughout the entire community.

It was a shared grief, extended even further with the loss of Colby Schmidtke in a car accident that occurred after attending the funeral of Zach Graney.

I had met most of these kids through the children in my own life and they were all great kids; beautiful, energetic and with very unique personalities.

I attended Darrion’s funeral with my nephews and the somberness of seeing so many young people at a funeral is almost overwhelming. The sadness in his Grandfather’s eyes spoke to the pain much more than any words could ever describe.

I’d seen that same look in my father’s eyes when he lost two of his daughters.

Obviously, for some the pain still runs deep but there are better ways to remember your friends although it will require more work on your part.

So if you’re still feeling the pain that deeply and would like to do something more meaningful to honor their memory, try planting a tree or a plant in their name.

Nurture the memory and watch it grow and blossom throughout the years.

Everyone, including Darrion, Jasmine and Zach, might appreciate that gesture much more than simply defacing public property in their name.

You might even be surprised how much better it makes you feel knowing you did something special to give them the respect and remembrance they truly deserve.

Sure it might sound corny, but don’t you think they deserve better than spray paint on a concrete sidewalk that is only destined to fade with time…?

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11 Responses to Heartbreak Graffiti (by Carl Grover)

  1. common sense Reply Report comment

    April 22, 2012 at 2:23 am

    The kids just want to see their friends name in a public place so they are not forgotten. The parks dept. should sell memorial plaques and post them in the parks and along the trail system. Maybe this would help stop this kind of vandalism.

  2. Little Bill Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Roody-poos can’t into responsible memorials to their dead friends.

  3. Laura hosmer Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Carl very nice take on a sad side of life. Always look forward to your stories.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Always enjoy your take on life articles Carl.

  5. LVS Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Excellent article Carl. Vanalism is not the way to remember and respect those who are gone. Someone will have to spend time and money to remove the words and then they will be gone. Planting a tree last a long time and is much more respectful. As for Anonoymos, you are a jerk who thinks you are better and smarter than everyone else. Nothing could be farther from the truth. -JERK-

  6. John Bunnell Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Anonymous is just a chronic complainer, likes to see (it’s) words in print…

  7. Bob Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Anonymous, why do you feel the need to be so negative about this site? if you don’t like it, don’t read it. it’s that simple ( just like you are ) the articles written here are just 1 person’s point of view. I for 1 like reading news from a different point of view.

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    vandalism is vandalism! This is BS!
    This site is a Joke!

    • gloria Reply Report comment

      April 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      You seem to have alot of deep seated issues my friend. Here’s a suggestion, stay off of NIT if you have such a problem with the stories. You are turning into a joke.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        April 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        He missed the point of the article because he did not want to comprehend this quote: “The point of this column isn’t to open old wounds or rant about vandalism”. Selective reading?