Thursday, March 31, 2016


Tragedy is everywhere.  Often it's nameless and faceless allowing you to look the other way and pretend it didn't happen.  But, then there are the other times when it corners you.  And there's nothing you can do but face it and look it directly in the eye.  Feeling the sting, the loss and the hopelessness.

A couple of days ago my sons' high school sent an e-mail informing all the parents that a student was killed as a result of domestic violence.  The name of the student was withheld for privacy.  The truth is, I didn't want to know the details, especially of someone I was sure I wouldn't know.  And that my kids probably wouldn't either.  When my boys came home from school I asked about their day, just like I do every other day.  Then I mentioned the e-mail and they acknowledged losing a classmate and that counselors were available at the school.  I'd handled it in the most avoidant way possible and now it was done.

Except of course it wasn't.
Tragedy is never done.
It produces ripples that alter everything that follows it. 

It was after frisbee practice, the normal chaos of getting dinner on the table and my husband coming home late from work that the story began to unravel.  When my son casually mentioned the name of the victim.  Someone from his grade.  Someone he's known since elementary school.  And I pictured her the way I last saw her, as a 3rd grader meeting her mom, who I'd made small talk with on a couple of occasions, on the play ground when school dismissed.  Why didn't my boys tell me they knew her?  Why didn't I ask?  And for the love of god, why didn't I feel the loss until it became personal?  

What kind of heartless degenerate have I become?

Even though my kids weren't friends of the victim,  I came to realize as my kids were talking that all four of them knew friends and family of hers.  Then they spoke of the rumors that were circulating through school about her death, the way things do when people naturally attempt to patchwork piece a story together.    To dispel those, thinking that the facts would somehow be kinder, gentler truths, we turned to the news for answers.  Immediately realizing our mistake.  Reality is always harsher and more cruel.  It didn't provide any answers.  Only more questions.  

Mostly, where do we go from here?

Though the details of each tragedy are unique, the question that looms is the same.  Though nothing else is.  Forcing us to start over with a new reality.  Where the unfathomable is now within the realm of possibility.  Increasing the seemingly insurmountable challenge for us to find some beauty and hope in a world that seems so hopeless.  And to consciously choose to be a part of it.  However small.  Every day.  


Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

You are right. Find beauty, hug your kids, remind them that you love them. The next day do it again.

Mackenzie Glanville said...

I am at a loss for words, this post has really struck accord with me and I feel at a loss to say the right thing. It breaks my heart for this child and like you say the ripple effect. Be there for your kids, just sit with them and if they need to talk juts listen. You are an amazing mum I can tell that, they are lucky to have you xx

Anonymous said...

There's no such thing as somebody else's child.

I'm familiar with the incident you're referencing - it is incomprehensible and so sad. Perhaps we hide from the tragedies and associated emotions, because there seem to be just so damn many of them these days. Hiding doesn't seem to be slowing them down ... maybe we all need a new approach.

Vidya Sury said...

Incidents like these just leave us shocked, and increasingly conscious about how transient life can be. Hugs to you, Marie. I understand how you felt. You are a wonderful Mom!. I remember when my son was in school, there was at least one death every two months for a completely unexpected reason and it used to leave us devastated. I pray for her family.

Cathy Tittle said...

I've done the same thing you did Marie. I feel like I am surrounded by invisible rings that shield me from the bad stuff in life. Only they don't really exist, a fact brought home by something like this. We sure hate to see our kids have to deal with the bad things in life. One of the toughest things we face as parents is dealing with things like this tragedy. I don't think there is any best way to do except to just step up to the plate and do it.

Joy Page Manuel said...

I am so sorry, Marie. The ripple effect has definitely touched you and your family and I pray for healing for all of you and the community. I cannot imagine what the kids are going through, with all the questions and feelings they probably can't process. It will take time and I hope that conversations, writing and a lot of hugging among you will somehow ease the pain. xoxo

Janine Ripper said...

The worlds pretty fucked up and a whole lot of fucked up shit happens daily. Or hourly. Or minutely... We can all do our little bit to make the world a better place ... and avoid the news if only for our own sanity. *sigh* life hey.


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