I was getting ready to go to my building’s annual semi-terrible holiday party tonight (although the cold pigs n blankets have started to grow on me), and suddenly it flashed back: the same sinking feeling. The same reluctance to go and make small talk with neighbors. The heavy weight on my mind of a school shooting.
Exactly a year since the day I didn’t want them to see me cry. Exactly a year since Newtown.
The whole Arapahoe story hasn’t yet unfolded, but I have the same horrible, conflicted feelings. And God, the questions. The questions.
What is wrong with this country? What is wrong with our children? Will there be a copycat shooter now? Am I awful for thinking about that? Am I awful for counting the miles between here and Arapahoe and using it to rationalize a feeling of security? Am I awful for looking for any reason at all to justify that it can’t happen here? Am I awful for thinking about gun control and politics and the gun lobby and the heated debates in the comments section of newspapers when someone’s child is dead?
Do I tell my kids? Do I let them ask about the hushed whispers and muffled chatter of the adults tonight?
When I hug them a little harder, when I push back the tears, do I tell them why?
And when–how–can we get to a point where we all look back and say, “well, glad that never happened again.”
My mind can’t stop playing the questions, like an old record stuck at at the end, spinning around and around, churning out that unbearable, repetitive sound with no one to lift the needle.
How do we lift the needle? How do we make it stop?
At this moment, I just need us to be here for each other. Before the fighting about the politics. Before the anger and the rhetoric and the petitions to sign and the money to send. That will come soon.
First, it’s okay to just be sad together.