I remember, a few weeks ago, after it happened and I wanted to disappear. I wanted to be somewhere where I could hide from the media machine. Eventually, the best I could do was ignore twitter and Facebook for a few days. That seemed to work pretty well. I also avoided the nightly news.
It was the faces that I wanted to avoid. I didn't want to know. I wanted their smiles to be kept in a mystery; something that my mind and imagination, my nightmares could not access. Though, after a few days of avoiding things, I went to look at my Yahoo email. And there they were, suddenly flashing before my eyes on the front page; the faces. The images wrenched my guts. The smiles, the kindergarten school portraits. I clicked out of they as fast as I could. Not fast enough. They sealed in my mind and burned a hole in me
I teared up. The images brought to life in my mind. The guilt. It wasn't my boys. They're safe. I'm glad it wasn't me. I felt the shame of that thought more than a few times since it happened.
Since then I've heard a whisper or two. I've glanced here and there at the gun debate. I've heard the discussions. I've seen people on tv talk about it. I wonder how they do it. "Why don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?"
Then I got angry. Angry that this had become just like every other incident. This was not. This was sacred. You don't just talk about this one.
I heard that America told radio stations to stop playing a Kesha song about dying young. They suspended play in their honour. Kesha singing about nothing and how fun it would be to throw your life away as a sacrifice to nothing. Suspending this song to honour them is probably one of the most idiotic and offensive things I've heard all month. Completely unnecessary. No. Don't soil this sacredness with pop garbage. Don't lower it with your words.
Then, tonight, I went to the grocery store to buy a travel mug. Standing in line I saw them again. They're right there in the cover of People magazine. You insensitive pricks. Let them rest. Don't cash in on their sorrow. On our sorrow.
I know what People wants. They want us to know the stories, as if we have a right to know the stories. Shame on them.
Yet, there they are, staring back at me while I stand defeated in front of the chocolate bar rack. The guilt and shame come back to me. I think of the Christmas I just shared with my family. I think of the Lego I bought my boy for his birthday. Shame on me to move on with life. Shame on me to forget.
I bought my mug and I went back to the van. I drove away with a sad song playing on my phone and I cried for them. I cried and I sang for them.
"Where did I go, where did I go. What is this sorrow? What is this sorrow?"
I sang for them and I thought of them as far as I dared to. Like the priests entering in the holy of holies, I sang with caution and fear.
How can we not weep? How can we not mourn? There is a hole in all of our hearts for these.
The media and the magazines need to take a break from the news. Some things are too sacred to types out, to debate about. It's sick to talk about these as speakable when they are so unspeakable.
I realize that with this post I am now speaking of the unspeakable. I'm sorry if you we're trying to avoid these things as I have been also. Yet, I speak of these things, as i said earlier, with reverence and fear. I've already said too much.
May we all continue to acknowledge the hole in our hearts and mourn in whatever way each of us does. And may we continue to ask for mercy so that the shame and guilt we have will not consume us entirely, but only wound us just enough to remain present with us.