The soft, pastel dawn feels disingenuous. My heart, heavy with darkness, clenches and the news of last night and the preceding two days clings to me like stink on rot.
Today is also the tenth anniversary of my father’s long, slow painful death.
Some would say he did every human atrocity short of killing a man to warrant it, but I can tell you with certainty that watching someone suffer does not bring you peace. It’s just more pain on top of despair on top of senselessness.
I texted my sister last night. We keep each other abreast of the anniversary each year. Sometimes I “forget,” sometimes she does. Though “forget” isn’t the right word, it’s more of a willful overlook. My cells remember. I’m sadder, testier, more sensitive in general and there’s nothing to be done but sit through the gale of emotional winds that beat down.
Three years ago, on July 9th, my grandmother’s birthday, my friend Sara killed herself. I weep as I write remembering the shock of the news. She had a child nearly identical in age to Peyton and the four of us would meet for coffee and play dates when the kids were just barely out of toddlerhood.
We shared our marriage woes and mothering challenges. She divorced, like me, and we continued to share parallel lives until the fateful night she decided to hang herself and forever rob her daughter of the fierce, beautiful soul that was her mother.
The pain she must have suffered to think that was the solution strikes me down, barren and broken. Blackness.
There was nothing, nothing, in this world she cared more about than her child. It overwhelms me with grief on top of grief on top of grief.
Two black men legally carried them to protect themselves from what I can only assume would be that “other” nut job we all keep hearing about and instead they brought police brutality upon their carriers out of stark raving fear and racial discrimination.
Yet more guns killed five cops, injured seven others and two bystanders during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest of the two murdered men. The protesters, there to hold accountable the officers who use excess force and discriminate against people of color, were now being protected by these same men and women as they all ran for their lives and the snipers shot officers in the back. Fucking chaos.
My brother-in-law is black and he and my sister have to discuss things like, Will he get any extra grief trying to pick up my white, unaccompanied minor at the airport gate alone because only one adult can go back there? What’s the protocol for if he gets pulled over? What do they tell their son who’s darker-skinned?
My sister lives in fear that her husband and son will be murdered because of the color of their skin and it’s paralyzing to think I can’t assuage her fears. I can’t tell her she’s being overly emotional or paranoid because it keeps. fucking. happening.
Guns, guns, and more guns. Children in schools, people in theaters and dance clubs.
The afternoon after Sandy Hook I went to Peyton’s daycare early and cried as I pushed past the gate and earnestly searched for the little body that came from mine. A school.
A hundred highly trained professionals were armed last night and their guns did nothing to stop the snipers for hours. I consider it a small miracle that only two bystanders were injured and more weren’t killed by friendly fire from either side of line last night. Bullets go where their physics tells them. They don’t stop if it’s the wrong person’s body.
And so I can’t today.
It’s all too much.
My father, Sara, guns robbing families of loved ones, the anarchy that seems to be seeping into the fabric of our nation. It all runs together like watercolor, like that impertinent dawn that played across my window earlier so oblivious to what has happened.
If only tears could make it all go away for if they did I would be washed anew and feel nothing. Death is only an end. It’s never a solution.