Kosta had been missing since last Wednesday night when he left his apartment near campus after sending a text to his mother apologizing for being an embarrassment and telling her that his head was "messed up" from the concussions he'd received.
When I heard the news that the missing young man had been found dead in a dumpster I immediately thought of something our pastor Kai Nilson had said earlier that day in his Sunday sermon: that during the holidays the state of one's life is amplified; if your life is going well and you're happy then the holidays can be a time of great joy. But if you're going through sadness or hard times then getting through the holidays can be a struggle.
And so I think of Kosta Karageorge's loved ones struggling through the holidays, the music, lights, decorations, and holiday activities amplifying the loss of their child, their brother, their friend. How sad that this young man, described by his team mates as big-hearted, enthusiastic, someone who cared about and was liked by everyone, who loved and was loved by his family, felt so worthless that he thought he deserved to die alone in a dumpster. Or maybe the way he chose to end his life was a final act of considerateness on his part, a wish not to trouble anyone with finding him.
But seems to me that along the periphery of this tragedy is another: that Kosta Karageorge’s body was found by a mother and her child who were scrounging through a dumpster.
It's troubling that here in this country, while most of us were still enjoying left-overs from our national celebration of plenty, there were mothers and children sccavenging through the post-Thanksgiving trash of others. That some of us spent Black Friday trolling the big-box stores while others searched for scraps in dumpsters. That the other America is right here in Columbus, Ohio.
There was no further mention in the news of the mother and child who found Kosta Karageorge. We don't know who they were, where they came from or where they went to, whether they had shelter and a meal to look forward to on that cold November night. We don't know how they processed the ordeal of finding what they found in that dumpster.
And yet because they happened to be looking through that dumpster the family and friends of Kosta Karageorge can at least have the peace of closure, of finality.
May Kosta Karageorge rest in peace and may his loved ones find solace.
And may that mother and child be provided for, wherever they may be.
POST SCRIPT: I wrote the above blog last night. This morning there was a front page article in The Columbus Dispatch on the woman who found Kosta Karageorge in a dumpster. Evidently others were wondering about this woman and her child, too. Her name is Linda Mulligan, she's 49 years old and lives with her 8-year-old grandson in Weinland Park, a Columbus neighborhood near the dumpster. She's a scrapper, and was out looking with her grandson for some bits of metal to sell. It was her grandson who first saw the body when he opened the lid of the dumpster to look inside.
And though she said that she can't stop thinking about Kosta Karageorge's face, "remembering what it was like to look into his eyes", she's thankful that she found him and considers it a blessing that she and her grandson were there.
We never know in what way our life's actions may turn into a blessing for another. May Linda Mulligan's life be blessed, to.