As i ponder the events of the last couple days i am left with a sense of emptiness, loss and, deep in my core, fear. My family, my little cocoon, hasnt experienced any crisis, blessedly we are all intact, coherent and with the ones we love. But, here in little Delaware, where everyone knows someone who knows someone, a tragedy unfolded, or I should say, added another layer — at the courthouse — and way too many people that I know and care about have been affected. And I weep as i realize that guns and mental illness and unthinkable actions do affect just normal little people trying to live their lives. And I realize that, although I always tell my students to trust that doing the right thing nets the good ending — it is, sadly, not true.
I am leaving teaching because I couldnt continue to lie to my students. Politics and bad administrators had made that decision fairly easy. But what do i do with this message of mine, this belief that good things do happen, that faith and perserverence and fighting the good fight will pay off in the end. I feel deflated. Even though this situation has nothing to do with me — I feel like my base has been shaken. How do I teach young people to steal themselves against harm when this random, yet so predictable incident, occurs. They look at me, scared young women, trying so hard to believe my message of doing the right thing, and taking the high road — as I try to talk them through the tragedy that their friend has just lived through — losing her mother to this crazy man– and I realize, that I have nothing to say to make this make sense. And as I admit this to them, as I tell them that all I know is that I love them, I want their world to be safe, I will always be here if they need me–I see them age a bit, harden a bit — and that scares me even more, i mourn their loss of innocence, of hope. And I marvel at the card they make for their friend, at their attempt to gather baby clothes and text messages. I am proud of their ability to push on. I am saddened that they have to see this, to feel this.
A crazy man shot the mother of his grandchildren, in the courthouse. She died. Her friend died. Two police officers were injured. then the crazy man shot himself. end of story.
But, the ripple effect continues on and on and on. Children left without their mothers. A beloved granddaughter left with out grandmoms hugs. A teenage girl, trying hard to do the right thing, left to raise her baby and help with her sisters — left to twist in the wind.