On Tragedy

I should have known that yesterday wasn’t going to be a good day when MB’s glasses were inexplicably lying on the floor next to my side of the bed when I got up in the middle of the night to check on Baby L and stepped on them. I couldn’t, however, have known that it would be the kind of soul-crushing day that it ended up to be.

When I originally heard that there had been a shooting in Connecticut, that is all I really knew. I didn’t know where or who the victims were. I didn’t know anything else. Just that some other asshole had opened fire in a public place. Again. Looking back, I am ashamed that my original reaction wasn’t one of shock, even without the details. Because these things are so terrible, no matter who the victims are. But the truth is, internet, that things like this happen so often these days that I think I got a little desensitized to them. I mean, haven’t we all to some degree? If you don’t become at least a little desensitized to this stuff, you would have to lock yourself and your families up in your homes to avoid being murdered at Target while shopping for toilet paper.

I remember Columbine. I had just graduated from high school a year earlier and I remember thinking that it was absolutely insane that something like that could happen. Like, in a school. And that it could have just as easily been MY high school. But I felt as though I had dodged that bullet because, hell, I had graduated already. These things could not hurt me. Crazy people don’t shoot up movie theaters or shopping malls. They just don’t. And then things like this just kept happening. And happening. And happening. And I would see it on the news and my heart would hang heavy for a couple of hours and then I, along with the rest of the world, would move on to lunch at Panera. Or an afternoon meeting for work. Or a pedicure. And I didn’t forget, but I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I couldn’t think about it anymore.

Yesterday’s events hit me hard. Harder than, I think, any other random act of crazy has ever hit me. It felt as though a piece of my heart actually turned black and died along with those tiny, innocent victims yesterday. And maybe it is because I am a parent now. And the overwhelming love I have for my own daughter creates an overwhelming fear of evil. Or of the whole world. And now, when I hear about tragedy like this, I am no longer able to control my humanity. I cannot turn this off. I cannot ignore this tragedy because I know that if my child were taken from me, I wouldn’t be able to continue to live. She is not a piece of my heart, she is my WHOLE heart. She is what helps me to believe that there is still good in the world. Because there has to be. For HER. There just has to be. Otherwise all of the reasons I was terrified to bring a child into the world are justified. And how could that be?

I’ve thought and thought about the victims’ families in these last 24 hours. I have cried for them. I have prayed for them. I have mentally cloaked them in hugs. I have thought about them not being given another opportunity to hug their sons and daughters and I have hugged my daughter twice as many times as I have ever done before. And I have meant it more than I ever have before. Because, I fear. And because I love. And I want to believe that there is a solution. That there is hope that things will change. That no more innocent children (or innocents of any age) will be taken in such a horrific way.

I don’t know what the solution is. I know that it isn’t to board up the windows lock the world out. I know that it isn’t to be numb to the whole thing. I know that it isn’t going to be easy. But I know this: As I type this, I am watching the most beautiful creature in the world play and learn and laugh and she is worth it, you guys. They all are. A solution has to be found.

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2 thoughts on “On Tragedy

  1. This is exactly how I feel. Be coming a mom changes everything. I mean, your empathy just goes through the stratosphere, and sometimes it feels like the fear and pain will just swallow you whole. I feel adrift because I don’t know what I’ll do when my child is school aged. How can I protect her? And that thought leads to imagining how those parents must feel, but I can’t imagine it too well because it’s just so horrific.

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