Letter: A community in mourning
In our 37 years of living here, we have stood in awe of the Aspen community’s ability and capacity to circle the wagons when the time called for it. The town and the valley community have an uncanny and deeply heartfelt way of doing that — holding hands, offering a shoulder, offering an ear, leaning on one another, wiping away one another’s tears. The Graham family has done it so often for others and they are now in the midst of a sorrow that is incomprehensible, untenable and unthinkable. Their precious son Will is missing, which means that one of the town’s children is missing. It matters not that this child is now 31 years old and is a veteran who served his country in Afghanistan. While we keep this vigil, while we remember his first steps, his ready smile, his readiness to help those around him, while we remember his sweet and loving nature, he is the community’s beloved child.
That is all we need to know right now. That is what we need to honor. The loss feels too heavy to bear, the confusion we all feel is terrible. Aspen Times, you seem to know, because of the outpouring of outrage of the community, that your recent article was more than ill-timed, hurtful and insensitive. It really felt merciless. Your attempt at acknowledging this mistake was awkward at best and led to an exacerbation of pain.
His family needs, and they are so deserving of, tenderness and compassion and respect. This is the time we must show who we are as a community in providing what they need in full measure. It is the only possible way for any of us to find the path through this time of such suffering.
There are times in all our lives, even in the life of The Aspen Times, when it is best to apologize and then sit still and stay quiet, to move forward with a kind touch, with compassion and kindness — and you do indeed have that choice. We, the community you serve, beg that you do so.
Join us in standing by dear Will’s precious family and honoring this missing son of us all.
Suzanne and Jack Caskey