Grieve

Tragedy. No prattle today. Unsettled, at ends, I can’t write.

Are we irretrievably lost? Somehow, I can’t help but wonder if this is a symptom, a connection or a less obvious manifestation.

The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

Before our children even start school, we -armed with the vicarious profligate insignificant matter that constitutes our lives- begin to kill the joy in them. And then we wonder why they kill each other. Like father, like son.

In memorial, resolve to create some beauty today. What will you do? I do not know.

photo by Henning

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10 comments

  1. Trish says:

    Sometimes the present seems worse because we know so much. There has always been violence.

    So today, I will renew my pledge:

    Victory Over Violence:

    I will respect all life. Recognizing that violence comes in many forms, I will not isolate myself but will create an environment where others feel comfortable and can be themselves. I will see beyond superficial differences and reflect on my own behavior.

    I will inspire hope in others. With courage, I will resolutely stand up against violence, be it verbal, physical or passive and teach others through my own example. I will support others and encourage them to follow their dreams.

    I will value my own life, recognizing that a lack of self-identity and hope for the future lay at the roots of all violence. I will reach beyond my limitations, taking concrete steps each day to uncover my real potential. I will never give up on my dreams, even if they seem impossible.

    Please take the pledge with me so we can create a better world for today and tomorrow!!

    May those who have suffered rest in peace.

  2. Karen C says:

    As I do each day I hear of mothers losing their children to violence all over the world (especially Iraq), I choose to be for peace. That’s the bedrock belief of my company and of my being.

  3. mamafitz says:

    that post article was just wonderful. thanks for the link. i resolve to look for and be the beauty in everything, sucah as smiling and chatting with the check out clerk at the grocery store or letting my kids take their time in whatever they are doing.

  4. I wish everyone could live by this rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or maybe: Live and let live. Love and let love?
    Also, as people in places like Israel that are bombed all the time say: They just go on living because they have to.
    :-)

  5. carissa says:

    One of my favorite quotes is: “Every child is born an artist, the problem is, how to remain one once one grows up.” -Pablo Picasso

    A neat thing I read the other day- practice saying to your child, “Take your time.” instead of “hurry up!” – ouch.

    Yes, this tragedy is very close to my home. Our local hospitals are filled with these victims. Strangely enough, I feel no more fear than I do after a faraway shooting. I kinda internalize all of them to an extent. I seem to feel that it could happen anywhere, any day. I also feel just as out of control as I feel when I know something has occurred far enough away that I couldn’t come and help. Yesterday I kept feeling like I needed to go to the campus and reach out to someone, but I couldn’t – closed off with security, too much media, kids to tote, etc. But I did have prayer. Thank God there’s something that can reach further than our hands can reach.

    peace.

  6. robyn says:

    I have a friend who lives in Blacksburg, below is part of an email from her, shows how these things keep rippling out to touch us all. Her husband also works for Va. Tech.

    “We are all OK, but our community is reeling in shock and sadness. Of
    the 4 parents killed, they all had Middle School students that were
    friends or acquaintances of (her Daughter). We are struggling to come to
    terms. School will be out again tomorrow, as they bring in counselors
    to help the teachers and students. We found out tonight that one of the
    Nursery workers at church was killed, and many young families used her
    as a regular babysitter.
    Just keep praying for us and our town.”

  7. The loss suffered by the families of the victims is immeasurable. It’s impossible not to feel diminished by the deaths of these 33 people. I say 33 because, as much as we want to blame the young man who did the shooting and look for his motives, chances are that this was beyond his control as well. A broken brain can make the unthinkable apparently right and necessary. It’s impossible to diagnose from newspaper stories, but I believe the 33rd victim was killed by the same thing as the other 32. We need better care for people who stop living in the same world we do, and to better recognize the symptoms.

    One more note – adolescents are hugely impulsive. Suicide statistics show significant differences in countries where guns are controlled versus countries where they are readily available. Take the gun out of the equation and most of those people would be alive today.

    I grieve for the 32 innocent victims who had no idea that day would be their last and their families. But try to find it in your heart to regret the loss of the 33rd. “If only” covers a lot of territory.

  8. Krisalee says:

    By just one click on your underlinded link of “if this is a symptom”, it has changed my day. The writer of that article is a piece of a symphony him/herself. Here I was, busy, busy, busy, and with one click of my mouse I was drawn in to read a symphony penned out that drew me deeper and deeper all the way through the 15 pages of the article until I didn’t care what time it was. THANK YOU! for sharing this article. Wow.

  9. Josh says:

    s suffered by the families of the victims is immeasurable. It’s impossible not to feel diminished by the deaths of these 33 people. I say 33 because, as much as we want to blame the young man who did the shooting and look for his motives, chances are that this was beyond his control as well. A broken brain can make the unthinkable apparently right and necessary. It’s impossible to diagnose from newspaper stories, but I believe the 33rd victim was killed by the same thing as the other 32. We need better care for people who stop living in the same world we do, and to better recognize the symptoms.

    Thank you for saying this. I haven’t heard enough people say it. A lot of people are looking at this tragedy with an overly spiritual eye. If there is any time to look at something with a scientific eye, it’s now.

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