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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Shutting the Door, and Finding a Way to Open It Again

Two 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????


At 3:37 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Oh, Mary, I just want to come over there and HUG you. One of the things I learned for myself about 911 is that the pain is there even if I think I've closed the door on it. I can remember hearing the 911 dispatcher tapes about a year ago and sobbing--five years after the event.
All I have to do is look at a photo of one of the Va Tech victims and I cry. I cried when I phoned my son who is on a different Virginia campus.
I have been thinking of 911 a lot this week.. and of the Texas Tower shootings. The pain of all of it just comes rushing out.

Your poor friends. I think what you do is just call them. Don't wait for them to call. Just call them and let them know you care.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Gosh, Mary. When it comes to the Virginia shootings I feel the same way. I can't absorb it the way I did 911 or Columbine. I just don't want to take it all in 24/7. I want to let it rest for now and then remember all the victims when I am ready.

I agree with Diane. Call these people and let them know that you are there for all of them if they need you. That's all you can really do. Stay strong and be a positive force! Good job!

And Happy Birthday. Life is short. Enjoy every single moment.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

The empathy and desire to help people through their pain is what makes us human. It's natural. All we can do is let people know that we're truly here if we need them, then wait for them to make the next move.


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