I am not sleeping well.
I have been having nightmares, horrible ones, since the massacre at Sandy Hook .
My daughter is in preschool. Next year she starts junior kindergarten.
After four years of trying to protect her from things like SIDS, choking hazards and home accidents, I am struggling to come to terms that I will never be able to truly keep her safe. As soon as she walks out the door, she is at risk. I know that there was never any guarantee. The very young die of cancer, stroke, common illnesses… this was hard enough to grasp. But gunshots? Homicidal pedophiles?
I’ve spent days crying in private, then smiling for my daughter. Locally, there have been some horrible happenings in the past few years.
I am trying to raise my daughter to be mostly trusting and yet aware of her environment, cautious but always friendly. There are so many GOOD people in the world. Since Friday, I am having a harder time remembering any of this.
The following are five things I think we may all be able to do in the wake of Newtown’s tragedy. . I am writing this because I have been GUTTED by what happened and I can barely sleep…
We can not change what has happened. We can not protect our children. We can not predict who is going to snap and what will turn an ill person into a killing machine.
But WE CAN….
1) Write the government about both gun laws and improved care for the mentally ill – Send letters. Nothing can happen unless someone is willing to first say, “ENOUGH!” Mental illness has touched my family, changed it forever. Somehow the general public is still under the impression that you can just call the police and have a family member put into an institution. The threat must be imminent and witnessed by THE AUTHORITIES. I once had to call the police on a family member. Guess what? I was the only witness. The person stopped spouting what he’d been spouting and the police couldn’t do a thing! It was hearsay! Even if the person said the devil told him to hurt someone and he actually goes to the local psych ward, the longest they can hold you in Canada is 72 hours. I’ve seen how it works. Family members have their hands TIED! If you want to read something scary, read this, including all the comments on how to avoid being held past the 72 hours. http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110811202558AAnFZBN Families have been given the shaft!
2) Refuse to be entertained by bloodshed – Why is it that we are horrified by a teen being hunted in the halls of Colombine and yet some find TV shows, computer games, movies with a theme of violence acceptable and worthy of their time? When we stop watching, they’ll stop making the carnage-flavored lollipops that they are feeding the general public. And if you do spend your money on the crap which heavily features gunplay, well, maybe you should think about the similarities of that fiction and the horrifying reality you witnessed this week… why are you watching what you are watching? Do you feel good about your choices?
3) Choose to NOT NOT NOT buy toy guns for kids – I was a daycare teacher for years. Toy guns disgust me. Why any parent in today’s world would stick a plastic semi-automatic rifle into little Billy’s hands totally baffles me! If you have bought such a toy for a grandson/granddaughter/nephew/niece for Christmas, then I suggest you toss it into the recycling bin where it may make more imaginative and less indicative toys, like blocks, dolls or a dump truck.
4) Be kinder – that man talking to himself on the street? Pass him a smile. The most volatile of our society are powder kegs. Indifference, loathing, disgust—they all light the fuse. The day after the school shooting, I witnessed a thin man begging for coins in front of a grocery store. It was raining. Another man actually went over, kicked his foot and told him, “You’re just lazy, go get a job!” I was dumbfounded. My daughter and I both dropped money into his hat. The wounded eventually bite back! This was not the case in the recent shooting, and I am in no way suggesting that any of the victims had anything to do with what ‘triggered’ the killer. Dear God, they were just babies! Innocents! Let’s learn from them! Be loving, wherever and whenever we can. Is it so impossible to emanate the love of the very young?
5) Be more involved in our community- After the birth of my daughter, a very difficult birth that resulted in seven weeks of homecare and quite a bit of pain, friends and neighbours came to my door with casseroles … it was lovely. I am thinking of the parents and family members right now who have suffered the greatest loss that any human being can suffer. Some have other children. Some are of a sandwich generation, perhaps, and also have elderly parents to care for. I know that their community is rallying around them, doing whatever they can. Let’s look around us… is there something small service we can offer to someone who needs just a little TLC?
I have not led an idyllic life, and I have found that when disaster/tragedy strikes, a game plan for change has helped me in the past. There have been times that.. hmmm?... I've have forced myself to look in the mirror. Even those times when I have not been a problem’s origin, I recognize that my hand has a role in the scheme of things and that when I make better decisions, try to live by a ‘better code’ that my actions stretch further than I thought possible.
I am certain that most of you do all the above already. I have been shown such kindness by so many Soupers, read passionate pleas for peace, for healing, for global change, respect for the santity of life…
I am so grateful for the friendships I have on Soup. These words are not meant to incite. This is just me rambling on because I NEED to say all this or I’ll implode.
A mother's love is fierce, protective by nature... mine is trying not to roar, trying not to suffocate my daughter with love and keep her from feeling able to explore, learn, grow and become independent. DAMMIT IT'S SO HARD!
We’re all hurting, all angry, all feeling somewhat helpless and crushed.
If you have views on how society as a whole could be bettered, share away.
Is there anything you will do differently, try to do differently?
Love and hugs and tears and very real fears,
The world is mourning.
These are Pakistani children in Karachi.