12/18/12

Newtown

This is such a hard post to write, because what I feel goes beyond words. My tendency when in deep distress is to isolate--I'll share my emotions with a few people, which helps for a bit, only to return home to hide out again. In the case of the last few days this has meant spending too much painful time looking at news sites, trying to make sense of it all, even though it will never make any sense. I suppose struggling to share how I feel here is my attempt at reaching out, a way of giving shape to the sorrow and the fear that I know I'm not alone in experiencing.

It's frightening even to type the words because it makes it that much more real--what happened in Newtown on Friday was so shocking and horrifying it's impossible to grasp. I spent that first afternoon struck dumb by a state of disbelief. Over the weekend I tried to push my feelings aside in order to tend to the girls; I saw people, went to a party, spoke to my mother on the phone, and somehow couldn't bring the subject up. I stuck to safe topics, dancing around the rawness, all the while surreptitiously checking my phone for details. As the weekend went on I could feel the pain encroaching on the edges more and more, and by Sunday night my defences came down and the heartache began to set in.

Yesterday dropping the kids off at school was physically painful. I'm uncomfortable being emotional in public, so after they walked through the doors I tried to hold myself together, waiting until I was home to break down. I think what happened at Sandy Hook in part has been so hard for me because it echoes my own life a little too closely--it's been difficult to distance myself from the sense of loss. June is in first grade at a similar public elementary school in a pretty suburban neighborhood, and it strikes right to the core of me. Apart from the feelings of grief the shooting has brought up in relation to my own personal fears is the deep sadness I feel for the families, in particular for the children themselves. I think that may be the worst part of it--the unfairness that they won't get to live out the potential of their lives. It is also profoundly sad to me that teachers, the people who care so much about the welfare of children, had to die.

For my own girls I've been able to be my usual self when with them thankfully, and despite my sadness I had a nice time with them last night. June wrote a story which she stapled together into a book called "My Poor Puppy" which she had me read to her about thirty times, and I didn't mind a bit. Still, the deep love I feel for them stabs at a bittersweet nerve. Now I'm hoping to be able to stay away from news in all media and focus on the day-to-day: continuing to do my work, trying to allow myself to be mindless on Pinterest, Instagram etc., without guilt, while tending to the usual laundry and dishes. The typical domestic monotony now feels like a gift.

The only thing I can really close with is to say how sorry I am to the mothers and fathers, siblings, children, relatives and friends of the victims, and for the community of Newtown. The tragedy is beyond comprehension.

2 comments:

Sarv said...

I read this today, Elizabeth, and it moved me as much as if I had read it a month ago. I haven't been able to find the words to express my horror and sadness at the killings in Newtown. As you say, "the tragedy is beyond comprehension." And it must touch the heart of every parent or grandparent.

Elizabeth Fleming said...

Thank you for reading Sarv, and for your comment. It really is still hard to believe, over a month later. Hope you and yours are safe and well.