in rememberance

I’ve been using our recent illnesses as a convenient excuse for not having time to think too long, or too hard, about last week’s tragedy in CT. I’ve listened to updates on NPR, I watched news coverage the day of for a little while, and I get bits of updated information from Tim who is (much more) closely following the event and its aftermath. But I can’t read these stories myself; after a few minutes I have to turn down the volume on the radio, turn off the TV (just this morning, I couldn’t even bring myself to look too closely at the faces of the children being marched from the school which was published in a local paper). I might tell you that it’s because the kids need me or because I’ve arrived at the grocery store and am in a hurry, but honestly, those are lies.
The truth is, I’m a coward.

I can’t look this event in the eye. I can’t listen to these stories of loss; I can’t imagine loosing my own young child at the hands of a shooter or loosing my own child as a shooter (because, for me, this is just as tragic: that man was someone’s son, and no one sets out raising a child thinking that’s what will become of them). I can’t imagine how you ever muster the courage to send your kids back to school – or actually ever let them out of your sight again. I don’t know what to do with these thoughts, so I don’t try to do anything.

But it’s because of people like me – the people that look away – that nothing changes. It’s because of people like me who don’t want to talk about the reality of the situation, who don’t want to put ourselves in the shoes of those parents or those community members, that things don’t get better. Blinders will not help; not even in the short term (even for me, the shootings are never actually from my mind). What we need is an honest and open dialogue about violence, priorities, mental illness, family, compassion, respect, and community. Because let’s be honest, it’s not just about guns.

Each one of the victims of Friday’s shootings was someone’s child; a child that started their life with potential and innocence. Speaking as a mother, I cannot understate the pain my heart feels when I think about this. It cuts to my core.

2 thoughts on “in rememberance

  1. I don’t think you’re a coward at all! Nonsense! You know in your heart and mind what needs to change and following the news doesn’t make you any more legitimate in the eyes of change. I think what you’re doing is surviving and trying to get through the day. I’m doing the same because to follow it too closely or putting faces and personalities with all those deceased leads to internalizing the tragedy and worrying about it happening to me either directly or indirectly and I just don’t need that kind of anxiety. When things are status quo, there is enough to worry about! Go easy on yourself.


  2. Obama’s speech on CT was really amazing. In particular, an idea that he expressed really hit me. He said,
    “But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.
    With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.
    They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.
    It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.
    And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.”
    Perhaps, Kiyah, this is why it’s so hard for us – not because we are cowards, but because we are all their parents… and they are all our children.


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