It’s easier not to take myself back there. Back to the first time I saw our Nation face tragedy. I remember sitting on the carpet in front of the old cabinet TV in my bedroom and watching Oprah as images and information streamed in about the Columbine shooting. I remember watching the twin towers burning on the TV just minutes after the second plane hit and I had just entered my pre-calculus class in agonizing awe. I remember sitting at work watching the news pour in about the Amish school shooting that had just happened about 40 minutes from my home. I remember the reports of Virginia Tech. I remember the lack of understanding.
I remember my grief at losing Kevin, but it’s easier not to take myself back there. I remember knowing it was coming, thinking we had weeks, and then spending the night next to his hospital bed hearing his labored breathing and realizing that tomorrow would be the bitter end. I felt like I had no time to say goodbye, but even I had more time than any of these other tragedies. Yet, saying goodbye felt stolen from me as Kevin slipped in and out of consciousness that night. I said goodbye and prayed over him hoping he could hear me releasing him into the unknown, what I hoped was a glorious light and a heavenly Savior welcoming him. I hoped.
These family members probably hoped the same thing when they heard of losing their loved ones in the Sandy Hook elementary shooting.
It’s easier for me to not imagine what they felt. That deep ache, that numb disbelief that this can’t really be happening to them. Just as I watched Kevin’s body being taken from him by cancer, his body never really looking like himself. But even as important as saying goodbye can be, remembering them for what they were, is more so. At least, the longer I grieved, the easier it was for me to remember him as he was, before his illness.
It is easier for me to not remember planning a funeral for a life lost too early. It’s just easier.
Reading this just sort of snapped something when I, for one brief second, allowed myself to imagine their grief, like my own. And I felt that jolt, the hysteria, the breath being taken away at that moment of loss.
It’s just easier for me not to remember. Because that pain is still palpable. There’s enough of those feelings going around without me feeling that too.
So I will sympathize and shake my head and continue to ask “why”, knowing I will never truly understand, just like they never will. I will feel empathy. But it’s just easier for me to not remember.