I am a mother now. I am changed. I will never again be able to hear news like a movie theater shooting or any other tragedy big or small, local or not, and have the reaction I did before I had a child. I am a mother now. And now I feel this kind of news differently now. Viscerally. Emotionally. Every child that is hurt, I imagine is my own. Every mother who sits my her wounded child is me. Every mother of every gunman is me. I feel the pain of every mother connected to this story. It is my story too. I am connected to these people and it affects me too.
Today, my husband and I woke up to get our toddler out of bed with her half cheerful, have cranky calls to come get her. After a fast game of “not it” (not because we don’t want to be the first to greet our child, but because our daughter is a morning pooper and the first greeter also gets diaper surprise duty. Pun intended. Sorry for this detail, Doodle bug. Hopefully you will never read this or be to old to care by the time you do), my husband glanced at his phone as he usually does and his face goes a little pale and his expression bleak. 14 dead in a Colorado theater shooting.
All day, I have been tearful. Emotional. Feeling the trauma as my own. As if I were there. To make matters worse, my husband bought his ticket to see the Dark Knight two weeks ago and has been doing daily happy dances about it in anticipation. And the thought of him in that theater…well, its too much to bear and it brings me to tears as I write. Fear, anger, grieve wraps around my throat. I am sure you know the feeling.
From what I understand, the youngest killed was 6 years old and the youngest wounded was 3 months old in addition to a pregnant woman. And the mother of this shooter, who was a PhD student at UCD in neuroscience, who was preparing for her child to be a brain surgeon, is now grieving the loss of his humanity and his participation in society. And is now grappling with him being the most hated man in Colorado, perhaps America, for his unthinkable senseless violence against innocent people.
I don’t know his story. Or his family’s story. In a way, I don’t need to know. What is done is done. (Colorado has seen a similar kind of tragedy at Columbine high school in 1999, my high school graduating year. I was too young and too self involved to care or understand or care to try to understand. Coloradans are strong and will raise above and heal.)
But today, today I am a mother. And today I am grieving with James Holmes’ mother. For her. As a fellow mother. And I am grieving with all the other mothers touched by todays horrible, unthinkable, violation and violence. In solidarity.
A great piece by Lisa Belkin in the Huffington Post, The Aurora Shooting: Any of Our Children Could Have been at the Movies Last Night.