Shutting the Door, and Finding a Way to Open It AgainTwo summers ago one of my brother's good friends drowned on the 4th of July. My brother, who was 16 at the time, was devastated - this kid was one of those people who was just a joy to be around, and he died saving his brother's life.
While I hurt and wept for my brother, I learned I couldn't think on it for more than a moment or two. (Even as I'm writing this, I'm jumping around the Internet.) Just thinking of what that boy and his family endured is just too devastating. So I shut the door. In my mind, it is a big industrial strength metal door, and nothing can penetrate.
I've done the same this week with the shooting at Virginia Tech. I listen a little, I cry a little, and I shut that door.
I haven't always been like this - I absorbed every moment of 9-11. But I think the terrified mother in me, the one who wants to lock up her 15 year old so he'll be safe, just can't deal with the thought of children dying.
But here's the thing - stuff still leaks past that industrial strength door. This week I was listening to A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES on the way to work. One of the characters killed a pregnant mother wolf and could see her babies still moving inside her, and I started sobbing. Cried all my make up off. Then yesterday I was reading my class a chapter of Number the Stars and started crying again (not as bad, that freaks them out).
Then, as if there isn't enough pain in the world, one of my friend's dad is very ill, so she's staggering along, and another friend called me yesterday to tell me she and her husband are divorcing. I am stunned. And I have no idea what to do to help them. I'm closer emotionally to the former, and physically to the latter. Both know they can call me, but will they? What can I do to ease their days?
And isn't THIS an uplifting post on my birthday????