Mother's Day 2014 no doubt was a nightmarish void for the children of Nina Castro.
Gunshots police say were fired by Castro's estranged husband last month in a Griffith parking lot robbed the children of their mother — and the traditional rites of this holiday — for all time.
But there is a brighter side even in the darkest depths of this horrific tragedy. It's a narrative restoring at least a fraction of faith in humanity — a faith severely shaken on the afternoon of April 21 when Castro's children watched their mother's slaying outside St. Mary's Church and School.
On Monday — the day after Mother's Day — the two children and their legal guardian were scheduled to move into a Griffith apartment in which they will reside rent-free for the duration of the 2014 school year, all compliments of the better angels of our nature.
You see, Castro's son is an eighth-grader at a local school, and her daughter is a sophomore at a parochial region high school. The children's godmother resides in Chicago and would have found it difficult to transport the children to school every day in Northwest Indiana after their mother died, Griffith officials said.
But then something happened to restore a little lost faith in humanity.
Griffith city officials approached managers of a Griffith apartment complex, which agreed to provide a unit for this new family of tragic circumstance through the school year, town officials said.
Aaron's, a lease-to-own store, agreed to furnish the apartment and provide a television for the time of occupancy, said a town official who helped organize the aid but wanted to remain anonymous to keep the appearance of political gain out of the equation.
And Ultra Foods provided the family with a $200 gift card to fill the fridge and pantry, the town official said.
St. Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago, where Castro worked as a nurse and case manager, also has stepped up for the children. The nursing administration office reports collecting more than $14,000 as of Monday for the education of the Castro children, and a number of employees are donating their unused vacation time as cash.
Most of us will never know the kind of heart-wrenching horror Castro's children endured last month.
And it would be an unrealistic presumption any level of kindness could heal the type of emotional wounds inflicted by such barbarity.
But bless those who are trying.
The Castro children's entire world collapsed by the alleged hand of a man whose name won't be mentioned in this column. Naming the suspected culprit would only taint the pure good of those working to answer an act of utter evil.
These kindnesses illustrate the overwhelming spirit permeating our region.
Though the region often is characterized by the crime and human tragedy of its urban core — or by the thick layer of rust from lakeshore industry — these selfless acts bolster faith we're made of something else here.
Thanks to a few champions of the human spirit, we know kindness can't be erased by senseless brutality.