It's amazing what the human spirit can endure and accomplish when put to the test. When faced with adversity or staring tragedy in the face, there is no other choice than to rise up and continue living.
Recently, an accident that occurred thousands of miles away from home has put many to the test. A crash that claimed the lives of Chaminade Brother Lawrence Zarzycki and student Brendan Tracey has affected many, including family, friends, and students, to the test.
At funeral services, those who were close to the two mourned the losses while others paid their respects. There are no easy answers as to why this tragedy happened. It is understandable that family members and close friends will perhaps never be able to get over the losses since Brother Zarzycki and Brendan Tracey will, of course, never be forgotten.
There have been many tragedies before this one. In December of 1993, a shooting incident on the Long Island Rail Road claimed the lives of, among others, the husband of Mineola Village Deputy Treasurer Joyce Gorycki as well as the husband of United States Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. The congresswoman's son was also seriously injured.
At the time, McCarthy was a licensed practical nurse. Just over three years later, though, she was sworn in as a member of Congress. She has been fighting for gun control and safety legislation as well as other issues she feels strongly about.
Gorycki said she never thought she would ever have been able to do an interview after her husband was killed. Now, she has done interviews on the radio, television and for newspapers. She has been outspoken on gun control issues and co-chairs New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
She has protested at places like Kmart in Riverhead where they were selling guns and has debated members of the NRA. Gorycki has been called such things as "communist" by some because of her beliefs in gun control and safety yet she fights on, confident in her cause.
Her daughter, Karen, recently graduated from Mineola High School and was named an All-American Scholar by the United States Achievement Academy for the high academic standards she set.
For those like McCarthy and Joyce and Karen Gorycki, their lives did not end when they endured a personal nightmare. In fact, perhaps they became stronger when faced with their tragic losses. Now, they are on a crusade to make a difference.
There are hundreds of examples of those who have overcome tremendous personal obstacles to fight for what they believe in or have learned to go on with strength and purpose.
We only hope that those who loved and cared for Brother Zarzycki and Brendan Tracey have the strength to carry on even though their lives will never be the same.