As I heard about the timeline of events in Uvalde, I started searching the Internet and ended up reading an article that said during all that time that those children waited for help, a girl covered herself in a classmate’s blood and played dead to survive.
I was reading this out loud to my big burly husband and I threw my phone down on the bed and shook and swore and cried.
My ten-year-old daughter came in, not because she heard me saying what the hell repeatedly, but because she always has impeccable timing and she said, What is it, what happened, so softly, with kindness. I told her that I was reading something about the school shooting in Texas because I don’t lie or cover up. She came over to the side of the bed and looked at me like she knows something more than I do. She rubbed little circles on her chest with one hand and then pointed her fingertips to my chest and said, “I’ll always be right here with you, Mama.” So I cried more and we hugged a long time.
This was a beautiful gesture, and a haunting one. Because she was trying to make me feel better, to take care of me, and I am the one that takes care of her. I’m trying, but I also can’t hold back the tears, the grief, the rage. Sometimes we only succeed in tiny increments, slow belly crawling through heaviness toward hope.
This means I need to not only feel the feelings and teach my kids that it’s good to feel the feelings, but I also need to tell my kids what I’m going to do and exactly how I’m going to take action.
My big feelings are forward motion toward action. If I refuse to feel them, shut down, shut it all off and move on, I am a slap to the faces of the mothers and fathers that lost the ones that are now only in their hearts. If I do nothing, I am a kick to the guts of those little ones that survived this massacre but will live in fear and with trauma the rest of their lives. If I do nothing, I am crying in front of my kids and letting them believe that I’m not okay and nothing is okay and crying and thoughts and prayers are the only things we can do.
I know the only thing that seems to ever happen after these tragedies is a fight about guns. I get it. I know. I’ve argued on Facebook, then stopped. Give me access to social media and I could go on and on and on about why I think it makes sense to improve gun ownership regulations with some common sense laws, but it won’t change any Internet minds that are already made up. So taking action for me means donating to Together Rising, because every cent this week will go to the victim’s families through VictimsFirst and to Every Town For Gun Safety’s support fund for investment in structural change. (Both of those last two web pages also have a donate button, just so you know.) I also joined a local Facebook group that’s purpose is to take action in our community where plans are already in the works. These are just some ideas, in case you’re wondering where to put your feelings, too.
Feel. Tell the story of your feelings. Let the words move you to action, friends. I love you. Peace.