Slain ODU Student: for The Virginian-Pilot

In between the kind words given by those close to Chris Cummings during a rally and concert in honor of slain Old Dominion University student Chris Cummings I stood silent in the shadows of the room. I couldn't help thinking about how any parent might heal from the death of their child, how I would heal if presented with a similar tragedy. 

I watched as Cummings' mother Rosa pleaded to the gathering of her son's friends to come forward with any information that might lead to the arrest of her son's murderers. Her message brought tears to the eyes of the masculine young men from Chris Cummings' fraternity and to his loved ones. 

The room was a living & breathing oxymoron. Bright red, yellow, and green tassels draped the walls, rainbow cupcakes lined tables, the vocals of a hip presentation of a rapping duo dusted the air, a birthday cake in honor of what would have been Cummings 21st birthday sat untouched sad and lonely with tiny shiny stars - juxtaposed with eyes reflecting memories of better yesterdays, a loud silence and tears sadder than a Mississippi bluesman of the Delta. 

After the shoot, the issues in my own life became trivial. I eagerly drove to pick my kids up from my parents house. I held my son tight and my ears bathed in the laughter of my baby girl. I embraced the now and gave thanks for life. 

The images below are from the assignment shot for The Virginian-Pilot. God Speed.