I’ve been having a very difficult time coping with the recent horrendous school shootings in Connecticut. I’ve been feeling stuck, unable to find the words, unable to move forward.
Writer’s block has never affected me in the past. To be honest, I have never fully believed in it, as a concept. (Writer’s block? Quite frankly, I don’t have time for that.) And I’m not sure that’s what’s happening right now, but it might be something close.
Many bloggers seem to have found solace in writing their way through this terrible event, but I don’t appear to be among them.
So this is probably going to be short. It’s my first step back.
Yesterday we talked to my 7 year old about the shootings. I really did not want to. I would have been perfectly happy for him to go on blissfully unaware of this nightmarish thing. But I started to realize it was likely he would find out. And I know how kids are. I imagined him hearing some terrible things at recess. I wanted to control the manner in which he learned the truth. And although the truth is horrible in this scenario (about as horrible as any kid on the playground could make up), I wanted to start the dialogue. I wanted to open the door so he could come to us if he heard something that scared him.
So we told him. We tried not to make a bigger deal out of it than necessary. We kept it brief and a little vague. We tried not to scare him excessively.
And he took it pretty well. Because the fact is, he HAD already heard about it. “Yes, mummy, I think I saw something about that on TV this weekend,” he said, his little face going a bit pink. Ah. In spite of my best efforts to shield him, he’d caught a snippet somehow, maybe as we were changing channels (not quickly enough).
Kids are sharp.
So I felt like I’d let him down a bit, already. But it reinforced my decision to tell him. And it was not lost on me that something had held him back from asking us about it.
Anyway, my little guy–who is, I am all too aware, the exact age of many of the victims at Sandy Hook–thought about it for a few minutes. And then he said this:
“You know, mummy, if I was there, I’d rather be one of the kids. I wouldn’t want to be one of the parents. Because for the kids, their pain and scary stuff would have been over in a second. But the parents would keep living, and they would cry and cry forever because their child died. And that would be worse.”
And my heart broke into a million pieces all over again.
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