A Letter to the Survivors

I just read my friend, Nancy Sharp’s, blog, Vivid Living. The post was entitled, A Dark Night For Parents. I didn’t know what it referred to. I feel like an idiot. I have been so out of touch, ushering a toddler and a preschooler through airport security, home to Phoenix, into naptime, and around the block, that I hadn’t heard the news. That everyone but I had heard. I even used the word “dead” in my blog post title. So much for keeping current.

My husband is, at the moment, in the bots’ bedroom reading to them while I sit, blindsided by the news I just learned on Nancy’s blog. Her son, a college sophomore, was at a Batman premiere last night. In Denver. Different theater. I have other friends in the area. One I just emailed a “you’re all right, right?” note; the other had left two phone messages that she was okay–but I hadn’t checked my messages.

And here I was this morning on a plane from the beach back home, looking past the face of my two year-old to the mountains ten thousand feet below afraid vaguely of engine trouble, having to use those ridiculous oxygen masks (a hand on my shoulder, “You first, then them,” and I, wondering if I could do that). Not knowing. Husbot didn’t mention it on the drive home. The talk was all about no naps and fleas. I am angry at him, probably undeservedly, for not mentioning it. If I had known, it would have been the first thing I’d have said. Did you hear. Do you know any more…I would have called Nancy.

Instead I wrote about Gbot’s indignant rebellion against wearing his bear suit. Which is the stuff of an easy grin, and it’s real life at its best, at its very, very best.

But this death is real life. This death that springs from shadows in the places we feel safest. And Husbot is calling me to read to the bots. He is tired and fleabitten. My family needs me. But they are safe–I think–for the next five minutes. And I need to share this grief.

Husbot and I have spent the last two weeks taking the weebots to the theater, trying to help Mbot feel more comfortable with the dark, with the noise, with the crowd. They are so young–we will not need to mention the death of twelve people, the injuries of fity-eight more, to them. But I do not think I am overstating when I write that the whisking away of this safe haven will be with us forever.

I cannot help but wonder how many rounds are fired in the actual movie. I am not blaming the film, or the director. Or the gun. All that is the subject for another day.

Today, I extend my deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who perished in Aurora this morning. Your grief is not mine. It cannot be. But I harbor grief of my own. I do not know your names. But I am crying for you.

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2 thoughts on “A Letter to the Survivors

  1. Thanks Betsy. It might not feel like you’re pausing to reflect with two bots running about. But you are, and that’s clear. Hug those bots and husbot. This, I believe, is the best antidote to cruelty in the world.

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