Friday, December 14, 2012
When the whole house is asleep, that’s when I will cry. They all have to be asleep, because once I start, I won’t be able to stop. And it’s a cry I want to do alone.
I don’t want my family to see how broken my faith is and how scared I am. I don’t want them to think that I am making something that happened half way across the country all about me. I actually have no idea what I am doing, except grieving along with the country and the world over how broken it all is.
I almost can’t bear the fear in my chest right now. Maybe that’s the weight of the cry I keep putting off– first a snack, then a load of laundry, then a blog post. I’ve been carrying around this cry since I heard the awful news. I saw the headline on my home screen, but it didn’t seem real. I was moving so fast trying to finish up my grading for the semester, so I thought, “I misread that.” But when the grading was over and I packed up my computer, Twitter and Facebook and strangers’ conversations confirmed the worst.
The absolute fucking worst thing I have ever heard.
Now, I’d give anything to be writing a post about a stupid Elf or how I screwed up Hanukkah. I’d give my last wish for my biggest source of turmoil to be too much holiday frenzy or too much pudding.
Man, there’s not enough pudding in the world to make me feel better tonight. I am tempted, this former bulimic, to see if food will fix this awful feeling in my cells. The feeling that forms the words, “We are not safe.” But, I’m holding off on the pudding for now. It won’t fix anything; it’s not a refuge from the pain.
Most nights I go to bed with a prayer on my lips of gratitude for my healthy family, and there’s almost always a PS that requests that they sleep through the night and not try to come into my bed and thrash around all night long.
Tonight, I am praying they do. I want them close beside me. They can’t possibly be close enough.
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Saturday, December 15, 2012
Improbably, they are all asleep again.
I need something to do with my hands, besides wringing them in horror and grief. Sadie asked me today, “Why do you keep kissing me so much?” I didn’t tell her why, and even though I have not turned on my TV or listened to the radio, I heard enough to have horrible images burned in my mind.
Don’t we all.
I have seen articles telling us to write letters to our elected officials asking for stricter gun control laws. Ok. That’s something. I’ll start there.
I have drafted a sample that you are welcome to copy and use. If you know of other ways we can make our country safer or be of assistance/support to those who are suffering unthinkable losses, please tell me. Please.
Sample Letter (click here to find your Senator’s address) (FN1):
December 15, 2012
Senator Richard J. Durbin
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C., 20510
Dear Senator Durbin,
Thank you for your willingness to serve the public. As a voter and taxpayer in your district, I respectfully request that you support any and all gun control legislation, including and especially an assault weapon ban. I implore you to also introduce legislation that would make it harder for guns to reach the hands of persons who are mentally unstable and who wish to take human lives.
As you are likely aware, research (such as economist Richard Florida’s work) indicates that States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. Since research confirms that firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation, I am imploring you, my elected official, to put tighter gun control laws at the top of your agenda.
While the path to both fixing and healing our country must proceed on multiple fronts, and the tragedies that keep occurring are complex, stricter gun control laws are a sine qua non of the solution.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. I look forward to seeing progress from Congress that would make our country safer for all of us, especially our children.
C. O. Tate
FN 1: I plan to write to both of my federal senators as well as my state officials. Also, former President Bill Clinton suggested that a referendum on the issue would be the most effective way to have stricter gun control laws on the books. I am looking into that and will report back.
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Sunday, December 16, 2012
The kids are asleep and Jeff’s in the shower. I have checked on my sleeping beauties twice so far. It won’t be long before Sadie crawls in bed with us for the night and Simon calls out to us. We will go to him.
I have avoided the TV and the news for the most part. CNN was on the TV at the gym– I peeked more than once. When I saw a demonstration of the difference between a Glock and those other guns, I said to myself, “No more. Stop looking.” I meant it so I didn’t look up again.
I am mailing my letters tomorrow. It’s feeble, but it’s something. And something is better than nothing. I think this change will come from the Mamas. We mothers who will have to face dropping our children off at school tomorrow– and the rest of their days– we will be the ones who will foment change and demand of our officials that gun laws be strengthened.
Or at least it will be me. And I’m a mother.
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In closing, I am posting links to articles that have brought me great solace this weekend– these bloggers are thinking and praying and asking and suggesting. They are part of my solution, the world’s solution. I share them with you.
For great reminders that are hard to think about, see Naptime Writing.
For thoughts on the gendered nature of the violence and how each of us contributes to a culture of violence, check out Moments of Exhilaration.
For insights from a thoughtful and loving father, see TheJackB.
For more political insights, see Maybe I Should Blog.