By Quintez Brown —

“There is a saying in Tibet, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

Dalai Lama XIV

We’ve made it to 2019 but it is not a happy New Year for everyone. Many families, especially in our Louisville community, are carrying tragedy and heartbreak into the new year.

The recent headline about Officer Deidre Mengedoht’s death was heartbreaking. She was killed in a fiery crash when an impaired semi-truck driver hit her police cruiser during a traffic stop.

A 32-year-old mother and 7 1/2 Louisville Metro Police Department veteran, Mengedoht had gained a lot of respect during her short career. Working in the Second Division, she was engaged in the Shawnee, Park Duvalle and Chickasaw communities, all in West Louisville.

Not too long before her death, another tragic accident occurred when 13-year-old Ki’Anthony Tyus was killed in a car crash after a police pursuit. He was a passenger in the car.

The story of Tyus becomes even more tragic. Four years ago, he was struck by a stray bullet while playing basketball at Ballard Park. A young gun survivor, he then became a vocal activist to end gun violence at 9 years old.

Tragedy can seem to strike at the worst times. Tyus and Mengedoht both lost their lives days before Christmas. This comes only a couple months after the tragic hate crime that occurred at a local Kroger. The thing about tragedy is that it can happen anywhere at any time.

How we go on after a tragic event is what matters the most. How we deal and cope with a horrible loss is what’s important. Especially when it comes to a community.

When there’s tragedy in the community, there must be unity.

In late November, a man had suffered from the loss of three family members in a tragic carbon monoxide accident. He told WDRB News that he’s never dealt with anything like that, however, it was the community support and Facebook prayers that helped him soothe the pain.

When rapper and former professional basketball player Percy Miller, or Master P, heard that Tyus was killed in the car accident, he decided to pay for the funeral. Following the death of Mengedoht, LMPD held a community procession for her, decorated a patrol car with flowers, and lit the City Hall clock blue in memory of her.

No matter how big or small, community unity and support can mean a lot for those who suffer from the loss of loved ones. When one suffers, we all suffer, someway or somehow. It is important for us to come together in love and solidarity and retain hope. No matter what we go through, the real tragedy comes when we lose our strength as people.