Aurora

We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict. ~ Jim Morrison

Sometimes, something happens in the world that sticks in my mind.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that it doesn’t happen very often anymore. I just don’t have the time or energy to become fired up about world events at the moment, at least not the way I used to. I used to read the headlines at CNN every morning before I went to work, and then delve more deeply into the day’s events once I was home again.

On Friday morning, I didn’t look at CNN. I checked my email, I fed and entertained my baby until his nap, and during his nap I wrote a fluffy little post about Rage Fairies, an idea that I’d had floating around in my head for a while. Just before he woke up, I hit Publish.

It was only hours later that the expressions of horror and sympathy that my Facebook friends were posting got through to me, and I finally went to CNN.com to see what had happened.

Aurora borealis (Photo by dyet)

You know, if Sausage had been a girl, his name would have been Aurora. It’s a beautiful name, I think — classic, but not overused; quite elegant. We would have called her Rory, fulfilling my desire to have a little girl with a boy’s nickname.

It means Dawn. New beginnings, bright colors flashing across the sky, filled with promise.

I’m not going to talk about the event itself, though my vivid imagination has put images before my eyes that have kept me awake the last two nights.

I do want to put in my two cents on the way the parenting community has responded — parents who are apparently completely devoid of empathy or compassion, condemning the parents of the underage victims as if it is their fault that their children are dead or injured. One of the victims was a six-year-old little girl.

Sunrise.

I can perfectly well imagine Sausage at six years old. He hero worships his father and is obsessed with Batman. He loves the comics, the cartoons, the action figures. He wants to wear his Batman tee shirt every day, so I have to have enough of them that he can wear one while the others are in the laundry.

I can imagine myself agreeing, against my better judgement, to let Sausage go with his dad to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie, in spite of its rating. He’ll be with his dad, after all, and he’s very mature for his age.

I can imagine myself working for weeks on his costume. Sewing, gluing, pulling out all my screwed up stitches, cursing at the costume, sewing again. In the end … well, it’s a good thing that it’ll be dark out. Sausage loves it, and that’s all that really matters.

I can imagine sending my Loving Husband and my excited son off to see the movie; Sausage is ecstatic about the treat of staying up so late, about spending guy-time with his dad, about being the first of his friends to see such an anticipated movie.

(Photo from bat-blog.com)

And that’s where I stop. I won’t imagine the rest of it. I can’t bear to.

But I will say to those who think that they can judge the parents who were there, who may now be both injured and grieving; to those who think they have the right to condemn; to those who comfort themselves that their children will never be in danger because they are superior parents: How dare you?

The cruelty and lack of empathy that some people have displayed is astonishing. How dare you attempt to punish people who are already in so much pain? How can you be so cruel?

I won’t link to any sites that are being condemnatory. I don’t want to send any traffic their way, to legitimize what they’re saying with attention.

I do want to ask my readers to please be kind. Send some loving and healing energy to those who are hurt and grieving. This is a time for us to support one another and to exercise our empathy glands.

I apologize if you came to my blog today hoping for something funny to lift you out of your daily grind: I will try to be funny again later in the week. Right now I just don’t have it in me. I need to spend some time hugging my little boy close, knowing that I can’t protect him from the world’s malice. I need to hug him close, and then let him go.

Life goes on. The funny will return. Really. It will.

19 responses to “Aurora

  1. Wow. That’s all I’ve got.

  2. Kathy, I wrote about this very thing today and I know what you are referring to in your wonderful and compassionate post. And I know your funny will return — mine has been gone for days now and I feel it coming back slowly. I so agree with you on this and it’s really amazes me how quick people are to judge and I’m so with you when you say this: “How dare you attempt to punish people who are already in so much pain? How can you be so cruel?”

    Wonderful post, dear friend and I hope you feel better soon. These things affect us, even those of us not directly impacted and that’s perfectly normal and understandable. Go chase some unicorns and rainbows. That’s what I plan to do. :).

    • Yes. Unicorns and rainbows! Butterflies and the tuneless, wordless song my son is singing while he’s supposed to be napping. I needed to get all of that out there, so that I can return to thinking about the wonderful things that keep us going day to day.

      Even so, I do wish that the silly child would go to sleep already.

  3. Well said Kathy!

  4. You don’t have to be funny to be interesting and readable, Kathy. This post is a perfect example of that. It’s horrifying to think of these events and put yourself in that spot. And I really don’t see why people feel the need to pile on the hate, except that they’re obviously angry, mean-spirited people.

    Peace out, my friend.

    • When I’m feeling generous, I think that these people are afraid and don’t know what to do with their fear other than to lash out. When I’m feeling less generous, I call them all horrible names and think that humanity is going down the tubes if people like them continue to be permitted to talk out loud. I admit, I’m not usually feeling generous.

  5. I thought about writing about this, and now that i have read yours I’m glad I didn’t. Because you took exactly what I was thinking and feeling and made it beautiful. This made me cry. Thank you for writing it.

    • I’m glad you liked it. I didn’t want to write about this — I was afraid that I wouldn’t have anything unique to say, and that nobody would want to hear yet another blogger yelling about the Aurora killings. But it was pressing on me, and I had to get it out there. It was cathartic for me to write, and I’m so glad that it resonated with you as well.

  6. I think as parents the idea of a child being hurt is so horrific and incomprehensible that we immediately want to place blame and since we know that as parents, our primary job is to keep our children safe, that is the first place we look–at other parents. It’s a knee jerk reaction and it’s not empathetic. In fact, it’s rather cruel, especially when you add in social media. I can imagine, what it would feel like to be in the middle of the worst loss I could ever experience and have the world add it’s judgment to my own. It would destroy whatever was left of me.
    This is twice in one week that I’ve been reminded of the importance of empathy. Evidently I needed that message, so thank you.

    • It never hurts to have empathy in the front of your mind, especially when things get tough, or stressful, or scary. In writing this I’m also reminding myself of its importance.

      I think you’re probably better than you give yourself credit for.

  7. Kathy,
    I agree. There are so many variables that go into making a decision on any given day. Was the six year-old the youngest of several siblings? Youngest children are usually allowed to experience things much more quickly than their older brothers and sisters did when they were the same age. What is the socio-economic status of the family? Maybe they couldn’t afford a babysitter so they brought the little girl along. Perhaps it was a birthday present, and she was allowed to stay up later than normal….the list of what ifs could go on and on and on. I’m not innocent in the judgment of others, but as I get older, I judge less and less because I experience more and more. Great POV post.
    Stacie

  8. Kathy,
    Yesterday was “Bloggers go serious”. And it was worth it, at least, this post was.
    Le Clown

  9. Loved your post.I too can’t stand it when someone is hurt.ANYBODY.There are days all I want to do is hug and cuddle with my precious grandkids.Granted at times they are to busy but when they are in the mood I have a slice of heaven.

    • The hardest part for me is knowing that I can hug him now, but I have to let him go, to run risks and grow into a functional person. I’d love to keep him in a bubble, perfectly safe and loved, but that isn’t good for him. So I hold him close now, and try not to think about how dangerous the world can be.

  10. I am happily blinded by what other families and parents are saying. I try to shun away from news like that. I am ashamed at times to even know that this even exists and secondly, that it is being projected and ‘celebrated’ by those media circuits who eventually make money off of ignorant fools.

    Blogs are to make people think — not necessarily to keep everyone happy. Thanks for the posting.

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