Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring Is Here

Today the weather is glorious, with soft blue skies, spring warmth, and blossoming flowers on the cherry and magnolia trees that line my street. I went for a walk around the block with Stella, a slow process of stopping to pick up sticks, watch the birds searching for nesting materials, and ooh and aah at the colorful tulips and daffodils.

Today is the first day in a week that my spirits have felt a lifting, and I am sure that it has everything to do with the shining sun.

Monday left me cold and numb.

It took me several days to realize that the Virginia Tech massacre had had a deeper impact on my heart than I knew at first. With the senseless Iraq war still barreling forward, we Americans are used to hearing about death everyday. Newsmen tally up the daily fatalities which reduce the deaths of so many soldiers and Iraqi citizens to a faceless number. We, as a society, have become numb to violence, and are rarely effected by any suffering that occurs far from our shores. I admit that I do not know anyone who is in Iraq or has a love one stationed there. I also do not know anyone who goes to Virginia Tech. For these reasons, I can only feel compassion for the people who are directly affected by these tragedies, but I will never truly know the pain and emotional anguish that the many families and survivors must suffer.

The Friday before, my husband had just sold an around-the-world trip to one of the faculty who was murdered on Monday. Even though he did not 'know' this client, the story of his life and heroics had a stronger impression on our psyche, if only for it's six-degrees-of-separation quality. I found myself obsessed by all the personal stories of those who had both died and survived Cho's brutal attack. It takes me digging through stories in search of personal antidotes to 'feel' a deeper empathy for the victims. I feel that it is my duty to match a face to the name, and not allow myself to be numb.

What I did find myself thinking about the most, was how this could happen to any of us. We are no more immune to acts of random violence than those poor language students at class on Monday morning were. 9-11 was the first time in my life that I think our country as a whole watched our bubble of false security burst and realized that we were no safer from the fall-out of terrorism than anyone else in this world. The thing is, we all try to go on with our 'normal' lives, doing the best not to live our days in fear. That is just what all of those teachers and students were doing in Virginia. People were planning their lives, worrying about term papers and tests, running errands, making dates and booking travel flights. Not one of those murdered souls, other than the twisted murderer himself, was thinking that they would not be here today...not live to see another sunny day.

When I walk with Stella, I stay close to her side, and guide her away from the street and the moving cars. One day, she left the sidewalk and ran into a vacant patch in the road where a car had once been parked. This is not a bad story that involves tragedy or even a near miss. There never was an 'Ohmigawd' moment where I grabbed her in the nick of time, as I was RIGHT by her side, BUT, it could have been different. Perhaps, I am too morbid in my thoughts, but I always think about worse-case scenarios, and am too much of a realist not to admit that horrible things can happen - even to me. Life is full of surprises, hopefully good ones, and we continue to live with faith for our tomorrows. What the Virginia Tech tragedy had reminded me of, is that we do not know when we will draw our last breath, and for this very fact, I will be patient on my strolls with my little girl, and do my best to remember to always stop, and smell the roses.


Blogger Reino said...

Hey girl. You are so normal. Everything changes when you become a mom. I was never afraid of dying. Spent five years as a police officer in the most wicked sections of Los Angeles. Death was always a reality. Now, it is a fear. Fear for my children, fear of not being here for them, fear that Tyler will be forgotten if I am not here, fear of the what ifs that may or may not happen, and so on. If I could, I would protect all from evil. I am sure my kids think I am a superhero. Nope, just another mother hoping, praying, wishing for the best.

10:55 PM  

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