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Gina, Lost

Updated: Jul 14, 2018

*Originally posted April 15, 2015

Noting an utterly regrettable fact:  Sometimes people who are very open-hearted and kind and nurturing of their fellow human beings have a tendency to attract the wrong people,

people in need of psychological rescue, people who are compelled to take advantage and drag those very nurturing souls into frightening places. Maybe it is cruel of me to contemplate, but I wonder if this is what happened to my classmate Gina, who was murdered this week by an ex-boyfriend, who then killed himself.  Sun Sentinel article.

There was a moment not too long ago I watched Gina stick her neck out for someone on Facebook and invite that person (not the man who killed her, BTW), who wanted to start a new life, to move into her house. I felt guilty because I wondered if I could ever be that gracious.

Longwood High School 20th Reunion: L-R

Jennifer, Lori, Gina, Theresa, Loriann, Suzanne

I hate to think that her willingness to support others in need might have led to the relationship that resulted in this deplorable ending, especially when she tended to post uplifting, positive-thinking platitudes, many of which raised my spirits. I also hate to co-op someone else’s personal catastrophe, as I have plenty of other friends who were closer to her than I was.  But I see glints of a genuine, ironic tragedy here and I feel obligated to acknowledge it.

This is not the first woman I knew who has been violently killed by a boyfriend in the past five years, which is an absolutely stunning statistic. The other was a psych ward nurse who later started dating a patient she had cared for…a nurturer sucked in by someone perilously unwell.

I don’t know what the lesson is here. I am stumped. I don’t know how to counsel my children. Or how to console myself, demanding to know from the universe whether it could have been avoided … if only people weren’t so giving of themselves.  How can we come to that conclusion and go on with life?

I am perplexed and without an answer.  I am confident I’ll never be murdered by an ex-boyfriend because I’m far too self-absorbed and cynical. Sarcastically, I think, yeahyay me.  Meanwhile:

The last cover image on Gina’s page reads, “Never Stop Believing in Hope, Because Miracles Happen Every Day.”

Gina’s daughter has asked that her friends share a phone number and a link to the National Domestic Abuse hotline, 1-800-799-7233, so I’m doing so.  It’s little consolation to know that she and my other friend are now in safe harbor. It’s the rest of us who are left to wonder what to make of the world.

Feel free to share in memory of Gina Stansbury Whitfield and Denise Merhi.  

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