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I Want to Find Just the Right, New Words

I Want to Find Just the Right, New Words

I had committed to not writing articles about overcoming suffering and difficulties for the next few weeks.  I felt like I had used all the words I had about hope and new starts and most importantly more gifted writers had done a great job capturing the beauty and the pain of Hurricane Irma, the aftermath and the initial roads to recovery.

The stories of ordinary people performing heroic tasks, nonprofits stepping up with services and generous donors from across the country contributing to our region’s time of need kept us all going during the early weeks post storm.  I felt as if we were all working together toward a new normal.  The common enemy of a hurricane had brought us to a new place in our community.

And then last Sunday happened.  I heard the news of the Las Vegas mass shooting right away as a family member was at the concert.  For my family the news was good.  He was safe and sound but very shocked and shaken to his core.  No one should ever have to experience what that group of concert-goers faced.  It is truly unimaginable.

I grappled with the words to send him and his mother and father.  I wanted to find new right words to make things better if even for a moment.

There were no unique and special words to draw on, but rather the same thoughts and phrases that we come to rely on during both natural and man-made disasters.  We grieve together and heal together and words and actions are our common bond during these difficult times.

I’m sorry. I’m here. We will get through this.  I am listening.   Call anytime.  I am praying for you and I love you are my go-to words.   Nothing new but authentic and heartfelt.  I just hope I don’t need to use them again in the throes of a disaster.



About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds.  Thanks to them, last year the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community.  With assets of $111 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $69 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan.  Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers.  For more information, visit or call 239-274-5900.

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More