It feels like in the few months that I have been writing this blog, I have commented on national tragedies too often. It use to be, before I had children, that I could if not ignore tragedies, I could at least nod my head to the heavens and bury those feelings. I was good at it, I needed to be good at it. Because the long and short of it is the easiest way to survive in this world is to simply live without emotions. To bury everything that you have within you so far down that those you love can’t let you down, and those that hate the very person you strive to be can’t destroy the efforts you make. This world is not only dangerous, it is literally hell, and the best way for me to survive is to completely ignore all needs that I have; for love, for trust, for even companionship; if I don’t need it, you can’t take it away.
When I was blessed with children much of that changed. Here was a being that I couldn’t ignore, that I needed love and acceptance from, who could break my heart but that was simply a part of the whole job. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, and it requires a devotion and a risk that no other part of my life deserves. And when I see an image of a child, sitting in shock on the side of a road, with bodies lying beside him, the full power of my rage is hard to keep leashed. Because I see my child right there. I see my child waiting for someone to find him, to explain to him, to give him the comfort that isn’t there. I see my child and it takes my breath away. The idea, the horror, the reality.
Adults being killed is tragic, there is no doubt. But there is a different tragedy when we are forced to watch children not only die, but to live through horror. Horror that is beyond their comprehension, and we have to sit by and watch the events of a madman change innocence completely. I can handle death, it’s only requires me lying there. I can not handle the idea that my child would be altered by my death; that the very foundation that I have given them would be ripped out without a breath.
I am required to believe that there is a special level of hell for child killers. For those that take the innocence children are gifted with and rip it away with pain, sex, or neglect. I have to believe that they will get everything that God can devise because otherwise I can not live; I can not breathe, I don’t know how to survive. I believe in the beauty and the sheer destruction of our dreams; but I can not live in a world where there is no ultimate punishment for the destruction of a child. I have to believe in a God that understands that premise.
Who are we in this world? Who are we to think that death and destruction is the answer to our own marketability, or our own suffering? The questions of the ages must be asked once again while we look at yet another moment in history that defies everything we are supposed to be. People have been questioning life, and therefore death, since the beginning. They have watched children die since Adam and Eve brought the first one home. We have been asking the questions, looking for the answers, and yet, there comes a time in each of our lives when we must recognize that there are no answers. There are cowards, there is evil, and there is the truth. Human nature is not altogether beautiful, it is not altogether perfect, and yet we live.
How do we reconcile the image of that bloody child on the side of the road, with the laughter our own sons giving to us? How do we not hold that young child in our arms, sheltering them from reality so they too can laugh? How do we find strength in a world where are neighbors are just as guilty as we are? How do we reconcile all the pieces of this world?
Part of me believes that there has to be a balance; for all that is beautiful there has to be ugly. For all that is good, there must be bad. But how does that balance, which nature/God/mother keeps for us, ultimately ever going to guarentee that my child will not be killed by a bullet out of a man’s revenge? Yes, yes there are no guarentees. Yes, I know that I have to allow my child to be raised to go after their dreams so that they can find the elusive happiness that I question each day of my life. But how do I understand the balance needed, and still let him go? Walk away from the idea that I have to, how do I?
How do I not pictured my child on a bloody sidewalk? How do I not picture my child being rammed into a bathroom because someone with a gun has invaded what should be the second safest place in the world? How do I not picture my child being assualted, taken, killed, knifed, gun down, or even raped? How do I get those images out of my mind each time I have to see another child’s innocence destroyed? I am great at burying my emotions, my dreams, my very thoughts; but I am not sure how to bury this.
I can bury the pain my husband unknowingly gives me, just by remembering who he really is. I can bury the hurt when friends don’t invite me, or don’t seem to want to be burdened with me. I can bury my disappointment in my parents, and the saddness with my sister. I can bury the daily nightmares, and the constant need to simply run away. I can bury all the things that would destroy my husband, my parents, my friendships, if they only knew that they were there. But I can’t bury my children.