I like to think that I’m a strong, enduring, and resilient person. Despite this idea, there are a few, very specific things that I cannot do.
One of these things is to imagine one of my children being taken from me.
I can’t even do it, so much so, that it took me 5 minutes to type that last sentence.
On Friday I was baking all day with my friend. We were listening to Christmas carols and enjoying the fact that we were doing something other than studying. I didn’t hear about the CT school shooting until after the boys were asleep. I had just sat down after being on my feet all day and DH said to me, “did you hear about that shooting today?” Of course, I hadn’t yet. He filled me in on a few of the details that were available and I was absolutely horrified; as everyone is.
But that’s all I could be… horrified.
I couldn’t do anything else, and I still can’t, because the tragedy is just too great. This is the reason that I haven’t turned on my TV for two days. It is the reason that I haven’t ventured onto any news site on the internet. It’s the reason that I didn’t even look at my wordpress reader until today. I knew that all these places would be talking about the tragedy; and, rightfully so.
Thinking about those poor children and the last moments of their lives – I can’t do it. Thinking about those parents who have lost their babies – I can’t do it. Offering up my ideas or opinions, or my sympathies – I can’t do it. I just can’t do any of it.
Maybe this makes me weak, maybe this makes me selfish, I don’t know. What I do know is that I can’t do it because what if it was my child?
Allowing myself to imagine the pain of those parents, to empathize with them – that would mean I would have to imagine what they’re going through. And I can’t. It’s not even that I won’t let myself. I physically, emotionally, mentally, cannot go to that thought: It is impossible. There is an impenetrable wall somewhere in my being that shields me from those thoughts and emotions: And, the part of me that built that wall, it did so because it knows that I can’t handle the pain. It will kill me. Just the thought will kill me.
So, I can’t think about, or read about, or hear about this tragedy because it is far too much pain for me to handle. And I feel bad writing that down because there are 20 families out there who are dealing with this reality. If the thought is too painful for me…
Since I first heard the news about the tragedy, I haven’t stopped thinking about it, despite my efforts to shield myself from the media attention. I knew I would have to face it eventually because it will become a part of history – just like every other major tragedy our modern society has faced. Eventually people other than DH will talk to me about it, ask me my opinions, and explore the issues surrounding it. I have to do better than just agree that it is a tragedy.
I think I’ve taken the last two days to reinforce that wall inside of me; to build it up higher and make it more impenetrable. I’m somehow trying to make it possible to face the reality of the situation, without allowing myself to feel the pain. It is hard, and I know it should be. And, I should be willing share in the anguish that the whole world is feeling. I know I should.
I shouldn’t be so selfish, wanting to protect myself from the agony. But maybe this inability of mine just makes me Human.
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