Take care, Kent State

Glenn Cummings

Greetings Flashes,

I am writing with a heart full of sadness to convey my condolences for the recent tragedies that have befallen our beloved community. I am a proud alum (1983) as is my wife (1982), and our son is now a freshman on campus. I have never written a letter to the Stater, a paper I dearly miss and which I read cover to cover throughout my undergraduate days. I have decided to write now, in hopes of preventing further violence, so mindless and unnecessary, and to address the seemingly bottomless despair some – perhaps many – of you find yourselves in during this incredibly difficult and perplexing time of life in which you currently share.

I promise you with all my soul that there is light at the end of the sometimes midnight-dark tunnel. There are so many around you who are willing to reach out and lend a hand when things become unbearable. Please, do not feel that there is no one who can understand the pain and sorrow, which I know at times becomes so physically, not just mentally, painful. Try not to look too far ahead.

Take things one day, one hour, if need be, at a time. Stay as organized as you can (it cuts stress) and then go to class and sit in the front, where others reside who are also seeking answers. If it happens that you fall behind or even that you fail, then so be it. We all make mistakes, and a little secret here, we never stop making them. Mistakes are the best teachers you will ever know. Through the pain and suffering and through the anxiety there is great learning to be done and knowledge to be gained.

Care for one another. Look after your roommates and neighbors, and be a friend to those whom you sit by in class. It is sometimes a mightily difficult and rocky road, but I tell you honestly that it is a road worth traveling. I leave you with love in my heart and with empathy for the grief and suffering in your hearts.

The great American author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. screamed to all of us who are in despair when he wrote, “Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”

Glenn Cummings is a class of 1983 alumnus.