Yet, it didn't feel right to simply continue as if nothing had happened. It didn't feel right to put up a post having to do with the latest thing I painted or GOD, my latest mothering crisis. It seems so very small to write about whether or not it's okay that my daughter doesn't like fingerpainting in the face of such loss and grief. That's what happens in times like this - everything you do seems so incredibly meaningless.
'Oh I'm so worried about my kid watching tv.' I bet the parents of those murdered children would let their kids watch tv for the rest of their lives if they could have them back.
'Oh waaah, my kid isn't learning advanced calculus at her preschool.' I bet those parents could give two shits if their kids ever learned anything ever again if they could just have them back.
When I heard about the shootings, I went numb. I guess it's the brain's protective mode, because I literally could not put myself in those parents' shoes. Not the victims, not the survivors; I couldn't do it. The thought of losing my daughter shuts my brain down. I don't even know how I would breathe if I ever got that call.
When I heard, I did what I'm sure every other parent did and looked for my daughter, who was two inches from me and in no harm, yet I was panicked. The fear squeezed my heart and of course, my mind started racing. My God, no one is safe anywhere. I will never send her to school. We're never leaving the house again.
Because that's what that scumbag did - he hit us where we were most vulnerable. He hit our babies, in the place where they're supposed to be safest, in my mind second only to a church. As parents, we make that promise to keep our babies safe and I know every single one of those parents felt like they failed. I know I would.
And I hate that. I don't go to church regularly and I stray from the path more often than I should, but I pray. When I heard, I prayed to Jesus to have the compassion and grace that I can't. I'm human and I'm scared and I don't have the compassion to be understanding. Yes, he was mentally ill, but of course he was mentally ill. Regular, stable people don't do things like this and I can't understand it and I certainly have no compassion. I know I should as a Believer, but I'm just not there yet. So I pray for God to do it for me, because I couldn't do anything but hold my baby and cry.
There is so much noise right now - cries for gun control, more attention to mental health issues, bullet control, video game control, and even arming teachers. That, I do understand. We want so desperately to find a reason, we want to know how this could have been prevented, and what can be done to make sure this will never ever happen again, even as we know that there is no reason. You can't prevent someone's mind from breaking and God help us, it will probably happen again. And that's the most chilling thing of all.
There are broken people the whole world over. We can take away all the guns, and they'll find knives, or bombs, or poison gas. I have no answers and I'm not smart enough to offer a solution. I only hope that someone smarter than me will come up with something, because strapping my daughter to me for the rest of her life isn't as viable an option as one would think.
I've never been to a funeral where they say that the departed would like everyone present to wear black for the rest of their lives, cry every day or even keep an eternal flame. You hear much more often that 'Grandma/Dad/Mom/Aunt Becky would have wanted you to keep going, keep smiling and live life.'
I'm not completely sure how to keep going, especially as a parent. More than a couple of times, I found myself wondering what it would be like to get that phone call and then my brain says 'nope, can't do this. We will LITERALLY shrivel up if you continue this train of thought.'
Yet somehow, you end up putting one foot in front of the other. Me, I painted a bunch of stuff. And I'll probably be back to show you. I also want to tell you about the new leaf I'm turning over regarding my role as a mother, and I'll probably crack a few jokes. I honestly hope you smile over it.
Because that's all we can do. When we fall down, eventually we have to get back up and it's almost always sooner than we'd like. As much as it feels like the world should just stop when things like this happen, it never does. Somehow, the human spirit recovers. Somehow, we start breathing again, and sometimes we even laugh. That first smile feels stilted, the first laugh seems forced, but bit by bit, we figure it out.
I'm not sure where I'm even going with all of this, I just know that I was rocked by this just like everyone else, and it just didn't feel right to not say anything.
I'll be back with my regularly scheduled programming,
but for now I'm just going to pray.