Like most of the country, and probably a good part of the world, I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to come to terms with the shooting of all those little children. I know I can’t comprehend the pain of the grieving families. Even so, I couldn’t stop crying for a long time; I feel lacerated, and at the same time, I feel like I’m conscripting a pain that isn’t rightfully mine. The tragedy hits too close to home for me not to feel anything, though; those children were in a school like the one my son attends; those staff members were like the teachers with whom I’ve worked. It’s a brutal reminder of how thin the glass is that separates us from the night, and how easily it’s shattered. I’m not a poet, but I jotted these lines down last summer, and they keep coming to mind:
I stand here weeping into the dishwater
Listening to a song about death on the radio
Knowing that in a slightly harsher world
The song would be for me.
None of us is ever safe; death is omnipresent; this is a truth that’s been acknowledged by humans as long as humanity has existed. It’s a truth that needs to be faced so that we can appreciate what we DO have while we still have it. I have to work harder to value my time with my son and to stop getting irritated with him so easily–I have to constantly remember that at least I HAVE him here to irritate me, and I need to focus less on what he’s preventing me from accomplishing and more on the marvelous nature of what HE’S able to accomplish. I’m always vaguely aware of these things, but it took a tragedy on a massive scale to really drive them home. I need to acknowledge death more often. And yet, and yet…denial is so comfortable, so warm, so cozy. I look forward to its return.