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'No rhyme or reason to grieve': Kansas Citian explains grieving process in time of tragedy for KC community

Crystal Webster, founder of Sharing Solace
Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 18:15:47-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The memorial in front of Union Station honoring Chiefs rally shooting victims continues to grow with more flowers and balloons every day.

Johnnie Fountaine saw the memorial for the first time on Tuesday as she returned to Union Station for the first time since the shooting last Wednesday.

"I grieve the fact that our city has become one of the numbers in the mass shootings," Fountaine said. "Those people were just here enjoying themselves."

Johnnie Fountaine (right) came to Union Station to see the memorial today.

Fountaine's not alone in her grief; Kansas Citian Crystal Webster has gotten a handful of messages on social media since the shooting, asking for validation.

"A lot of, 'Thank you for sharing your story. I feel heard and seen,'" Webster said while recalling the messages she's received. "'I’m happy to hear, one, that you’re okay, and, two, that I’m allowed to feel those feelings.'"

Webster has experienced immense heartache; she lost her newborn daughter to genetic issues.

She decided to share her story and start a business, Sharing Solace, around the idea of helping others feel less alone. Through her business, Webster sells pendants that serve as a reminder of strength. Webster also wrote a book, "Confessions of a Griever."

This month, a portion of the proceeds from Sharing Solace are going toward the KCStrong fund.

"You’re allowed to feel your emotions," Webster said. "Emotions are not right or wrong, they just are."

Crystal Webster, the founder of Sharing Solace.

Webster believes it doesn't matter whether or not you were at the rally, you are allowed to have emotions around it, because we all lost something that day.

"As a community, we lost that sense of that perfect dream of the second parade in two years," she said.

Webster said healing takes time. Visiting the memorial is one way Fountaine is grieving, but also healing. She said she's relying on her faith to bring her peace.

"You grieve for any city because it’s not something that they were expecting," Fountaine said. "I pray for those lost souls, including the young woman who was killed."