Today is the winter solstice. The darkest day of the year in which we look forward to the light joining us once again. It is also the one week anniversary of the mass shooting in Massachusetts. Since I saw the first post on Facebook about the shooting last Friday, I have not been able to peel myself away.
Children a mere two years older than my daughter are gone from this world, for reasons we may never know. Innocent souls who just wanted to open presents from Santa next Tuesday morning will not have that chance. I see the outpouring of love from around the world, the tears, and the petty bickering all over social media as to who's to blame, and I cannot look away.
I am one of millions of mothers around the world. I was a mom before I fully became a mom. I married a man with two boys, and through some of the early struggles, I adored them from the word "go." I often note that before giving birth, I never cried for movies. I was quite numb to the violence, sadness and fear projected on the silver screen. Giving birth changed all of that. There are movies that I once loved that I can no longer bear to watch. Yet, this 24/7 reality show that is the news acts like another one of those movies, and I cannot look away.
Thanks to social media, it takes no more than a click of the mouse to blame the NRA, a lack of God in schools, lack of access to mental wellness care, and what have you for this event. Pardon my moment of lewdness, but fuck all of you. Yes, perhaps it's easier to search for blame than to feel the pain violent tragedy induces. The President was not afraid to shed a tear in front of the camera. Don't be afraid to shed one in the comfort of your monitor's glow. I promise, it's OK. It shows you're still human.
At 9:30 EST the country shared a moment of silence. Here in Wisconsin, it was 8:30 and I was walking my daughter into her school, her purple gloved hand in mine. As I type this, 9:30 CST is approaching, and I will stop and meditate on these thoughts.
I'm completely jealous of the fact that my daughter has no idea what happened last week. I had a short bit of time between appointments that day to stop at her daycare and give her a quick hug and kiss while she ate her lunch after hearing preliminary accounts of the shooting. She had no idea why I was there other than to wish her a fun time at her cousin's birthday party/sleepover that night. She wanted to come home with me right then and there, which is odd, as she loves her daycare and never wants to leave. Alas, I had to go to work, and not see her until the following morning.
I frequently work nights, and don't get home until after the kids are in bed. Every night, I go into my daughter's room and kiss her goodnight. She never wakes, but it's a ritual I've maintained since she's been able to sleep soundly enough for me to pull this off. I cannot fathom having to cease that ritual. The very thought sinks my heart into my stomach.
I know my voice is one of millions around the world who is sharing their condolences. My wish for all of the affected families is that you may go forward today, on the Winter Solstice, and welcome the light back into your world. No person can be replaced. But I hope that, in time, you will receive closure and find a way to forgive. Until such time that absolute peace can be obtained, I will not look away.