Sunday, July 22, 2012
Shedding Tears for Aurora
I’m not a very emotional person. Compassionate? Always. Teary-eyed? Not really. Those who know me well can probably count on one hand the times they’ve seen me cry. I don’t know why, I’ve just always been that way. It’s almost like I stockpile it inside myself until something so devastating happens, the flood gates open and years of repressed tears spill out like a fire hose on full blast.
On Friday at about eight in the morning I turned on the television. It was one of those moments where everything was so surreal, I felt like I was experiencing some kind of horrid nightmare. Heaven knows, I’ve had enough of them. What I was seeing wasn’t real, right? It couldn’t be.
But it was.
A female reporter announced a man had waltzed into a movie theater, armed, and with a single goal in mind: kill as many people as possible. At first I was stunned like everyone else. But as the day unfolded and they released more information about the victims, it became harder for me to listen. I didn’t want to hear it anymore. Sure, I could have turned the TV off, but I couldn’t undo what had already been done.
A photo was released of one of the victims and I thought: that could have been my sister. And then it hit me; she was someone’s sister, daughter, mother, wife, and friend.
And the flood gates opened.
Because I write thriller novels, I do a lot of research into the mind of different types of killers, knowing in the end, what I put on the page is nothing more than a work of fiction. I like it that way. Clean, not messy. But that’s not always real life, is it?
I’ve thought about what compelled “he who shall not be named” to commit such a heinous crime, but it doesn’t matter. Because he did, and I find myself devoid of compassion for him right now while I witness the aftermath of what he’s done. Part of me wishes he could be transported to another era where criminals suffered severely before their heads rolled off the chopping block Henry VIII style. Is it wrong to want that? The answer is yes. It is for me. Why? Because it feeds into the negative energy of what’s already happened and puts my focus on him, and not where it should be: with the victims and their families. I want to stretch my arms out so far they’ll wrap around every family member, every friend who lost someone they loved.
Over the past few days, a song has played in my head over and over again, “One Love” by Bob Marley. Maybe it’s because all I want is for everyone to feel alright, even though those closest to the victims probably won’t feel that way for a very long time. Ever since I was little I’ve always felt the need to help others. I remember a bee landing in my swimming pool. I wanted to save it before it drowned so I scooped it up in my tiny hand, and you all know what followed. It bit me, thus ending its own life.
I’ve learned a lot about people over the years, and one thing I know for certain is that it’s okay to be there for someone in their time of need, to listen, comfort, whatever is needed to help them through the hard times. But then we have to take a step back and allow them to process what’s happening in their own way, and in their own time, and that’s different for all of us.
This horrible tragedy has reminded me to hold my loved ones a little tighter and not to take anything for granted. How about you?