Monday, December 17, 2012

Bone white

The tree outside this window is bone white in the harsh sunlight of Monday morning. How does one write a blog post after the events of the weekend? In a Connecticut elementary school, twenty-six people, twenty of whom were younger than eight-years-old, were killed by a twenty-year-old kid wielding semi-automatic weapons belonging to his mother.

Sirens shriek past the house. Two police cars, flashing, race through the red light.

When my children were young, I sent them to the local Montessori school, where Miss Debbie and a group of other women nurtured and protected them. My oldest son learned how to read there. He was four. My younger son learned how to articulate. He was three. I never worried for their safety, not once.

How do we go back to school today?

My sons grew up. They attended a small-town Lutheran school, where, a week after my oldest son's eighth-grade graduation, the principal was accused of pedophilia. He took his own life before summer's end.

A common mnemonic aid in differentiating the word principal  from the word principle is to think the principal is your pal. 

The following year, letters and complaints revealed the seventh grade teacher as a pedophile, too. This man, rather than gassing himself in his garage, made a public apology to the congregation. Some people want to blame the Friday, December 14th, 2012 massacre on the ban on school prayer.

I want to write "prayer does nothing" but I'm afraid to. I don't know what prayer does. I don't know what happens after we die. I do not want to cling to or frighten myself with superstitions. I know a deranged young man, after killing his mother with one of her own automatic weapons, walked into a school and brutally killed twenty-six people. I know there have been several similar massacres in US history. I have no idea why it's legal to buy and own semi-automatic weapons.

What use do these weapons have?

I haven't been a perfect mother. I'm a control freak according to my oldest son. My younger son is beginning to agree. I haven't been able to recuperate from the shock of my husband's death from cancer. Over the past seven years, I've completely dismantled my life. I don't know how to live. Today I'm thinking of becoming a real estate agent.

My sons are alive. I don't think they've been molested by a teacher; I don't think the religious superstitions hurt them too much. They weren't threatened by gunmen in grade school, high school, college; and haven't been threatened at the mall or the movie theater.

The plane tree outside this window is as white as bone. Its seeds, the size and shape of jacks balls, dangle from delicate branches as if earrings. Some seeds will germinate. Some volunteer trees will be mowed down, some will be pulled up, some will grow spindly in the yard, some will push tenaciously through cracks in the driveway, some will cling to the foundation of the house. None will flourish without proper nurturing. I don't know how the families of this weekend's dead will survive their grief, but they will survive.

We must love one another. We must forgive. We must have empathy. We must be patient. We must talk openly. We must admit and examine our confusions. None of us is perfect.

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