For the past week and a half my small town has been inundated with news crews and the colors or red and white have been splashed everywhere around here. Neighbors and friends have had their faces on the front pages of newspapers and on television. And to have the town mentioned on BBC News is surreal. I’ve watched our close community pull together even more, in very public ways.
I’ve been watching everything from the sidelines, feeling unable to attend gatherings and vigils, overcome with emotions that I can’t seem to find the right words to talk about. Struggling to concentrate on work and barely holding our lives together. I haven’t even been able to find anything coherent to say on Facebook about it. Not even a sentence. I keep reading the words, “We all grieve in our own way”, but I don’t feel like this is grief. I haven’t begun to grieve yet. I think I’m still stunned by the shootings.
I’m also frustrated by not having answers. Of course there’s never any good answer for death, and the deaths of four fourteen year old kids seems awful. They were so so young and in the midst of raging hormones and high school and lost love. And those are the only answers I’ve seen so far. A young man with a broken heart, in such pain that he wanted to die and take his friends and relatives with him. It’s the stuff of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
If only it were fiction.
I can’t make sense of this. It’s not like the shooter was a terribly dysfunctional kid. His parents participated in his life, went to his events. He was well liked, even popular. He was a normal kid who was in such pain he couldn’t make good choices, not a bullied loner who was out to kill others just to hurt people. At least that’s what I see looking in from the outside. I didn’t know any of the kids, they’re friends of friends. Some of them went to the same place my daughter hangs out at after school. She’ll probably go to that high school. One degree of separation.
I don’t feel afraid for my child, not any more than usual anyway, but I feel such sadness that these four lives have been cut short and two others have probably been irreparably damaged. I feel such sorrow for their family and friends, who must now live without their light.
I keep asking why.
And there’s no answers.