Monday, December 17, 2012

You cannot make sense of the senseless

How can anyone make sense of the tragedy that occurred at the elementary school in Connecticut. I finally had to shut off my TV as I could no longer listen to reporters and their dumb questions and the purported 'experts' comments any longer.

This is a senseless tragedy.  There are no real answers.  We will never really know what led to this massacre. 

We do know the facts and they are enough.  Twenty kids were slaughtered as they huddled together in a place where they should have been safe.  And several adults also died needlessly as they tried to protect them.  They were all gunned down by a young man with many issues who had access to firearms that he shouldn't have had access to. His mother also lost her life. I am sure she never thought that her son could do such a thing. Was there really any way he could have been stopped?  Probably not. And that is the ugly truth. No matter how many ways we slice it.

We all feel the same way.  Angry, shocked, sad.  Relief that it was not one of our own.   And fearful.  Fearful that this could happen to our loved ones. I also feel guilt.  Every time I hear a Christmas song and start to think about the holiday, I remember the parents who lost their children and I feel bad that luckily I don't have to face such a loss today.

I have seen many children die in my hospice and nursing career.  Even expected deaths from a terminal illness are hard to wrap your head around. So I cannot imagine seeing twenty little bodies with horrible trauma inflicted upon them.  I feel horribly for the parents, but also for the first responders who had to deal with the aftermath.  They will never be the same. 

The parents will go through what all the parents go through that I have known who have seen a child die.  The loss is tremendous.  No words, no cards, no gifts can really provide much comfort. They will never be the same; their lives have been altered in a way that is irrevocable.  They will be numb for a very long time.  Life will go on around them, but they will hardly notice. Life stopped for them. At least the life that they have known. They will move forward, but will only go through the motions of life.  They will finally be able to fall asleep at night, but will awake in the morning and realize that their nightmare is real. They will have that awful pit in their stomach every single day for a very long time.

No one can understand their grief.  No one. It is a personal assault.  And it will be hard for the siblings as well. They will have survivor guilt.  They will always feel measured by the lost sibling.  Sad, but true.  Life will be altered for them as well. It is a wound that never really heals. Time makes it better, but time slows down for the bereaved.  And every milestone will be a reminder of what they have missed.  A birthday, a graduation, a wedding, a confirmation, a dance recital.  Holidays are strained. Life stopped, so how can you go on?  But they do. And they are my heroes.

I have an only child.  I cannot imagine losing her.  The thought of it just simply brings me to my knees. So, did I hug her more after this?  No.  I have always hugged her.  I have always known that she is a precious gift.  I go easy on her.  I forgive her often.  I know how fleeting life is.  I know that really the only thing we can give our children is love.  Every single day. It doesn't mean we will never be angry at them or punish them or set limits.  It means though that we hold them in special regard and love them unconditionally. 

I can only imagine that the mother of the shooter did the same thing. As did all the parents of those dead innocent children.

We will never make any real sense of this.  Time will pass and other news will take the place of this news and life will go on.  Life goes on regardless.  It will go on for the bereaved as well. They will live through the first horrible year and slowly they will return to life.  They have no real choice.  They must be brave. And they are.

The rest of us who are fortunate enough, thus far, to not have to live with such pain, can help by being kinder to people.  By letting go of petty nonsense.  By smiling at random strangers more.  By looking at our children and seeing them for what they are; innocent youngsters who crave and deserve our love. We need to put aside nonsense and find that love.  Then give it freely.

Making ourselves better and putting more love into the world is the best healing we can offer.

Do it often.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 
~~Anne Lamott

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” 
~~~Edna St. Vincent Millay

 I thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new...
I thought about you yesterday,
and days before that too.
I think of you in silence,
I often speak your name.
Now all I have are memories,
and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is my keepsake,
with which I'll never part.
God has you in Heaven,
 I have you in my heart.

~~~ Unknown