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READER’S CORNER: The End of the Line for a Newburgh Girl


The End of the Line for a Newburgh Girl

 By Michele Starkey

I was deeply saddened when I heard the mumblings on Social Media and on the streets of the City of Newburgh about a girl who had briefly graced my life. Her life was in stark contrast to mine and yet I find myself moved to tears by her death.

She now becomes another sad statistic of someone who succumbed to drug addiction and eventually lost her life. It has become an all too common occurrence in almost every city and town all across our nation. It could be your sister or brother, your daughter or son or anyone you knew and loved.

Our connection reminded me of something I read long ago by a doctor from India named Vishnu Bharath Alampali. He called it,

“Life is Like a Journey on a Train.”

Life is like a journey on a train with its stations, with changes of routes and with accidents. At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all the passengers…requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is:

We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down.

So, we must live in the best way – Love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty; we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life without us. I wish you a joyful journey for the coming years on your train of life. Reap success, give lots of love and be happy. More importantly, be thankful for the journey! Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!

For whatever reason this young lady ended up on my life train and has now disembarked.

Some folks reading this may find it hard to comprehend my grief over someone I hardly knew. I believe that is the crux of the problems we have as a society. We need to care that one more life has succumbed to drugs. One more life has ended all too soon. The City of Newburgh remains a Community knitted together but it still remains a city plagued with many problems.

This young lady and I crossed paths and our connection that began with my questions that led to her answers and eventually developed into an entire conversation is over now. Yes, she was someone’s daughter, sister, cousin and friend. I have spoken to hundreds of people from all over who came forth to share stories, pictures and memories in the days since her passing. I will not print any of that information out of the deepest respect for her and her family. She deserves that much.

No one knows for sure what led her down the path of the destructive behavior that ended her life. There is a saying, “There by the Grace of God go I.”

Be kind to one another. Reach out and help a neighbor, a friend or a stranger because you just never know when they will reach the end of the line. We’re all of this life train together and I hope to make my journey and yours, too, a kinder ride.



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