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Dec
17

At a Loss

On Friday I was asleep for most of the day, preparing for my first of three night shifts. I awoke to hear about a nightmare too horrific to imagine.

Since then a lot has been said. About guns, about evil, about mental illness, about politics. My unit was abuzz all weekend, with staff swapping news and reading updates online during downtime. My Facebook wall and Twitter feed are full of both heartfelt tributes and emotional debates.

And yet the world keeps turning. This is distressing to me right now because I want everything to pause. I want us all to shut up and just remember and give ourselves space to be sad. I remember feeling this way right after losing my dad, resenting the people who sat outside at coffee shops or went about their grocery shopping. I remember wanting to scream at them, wanting them to care, wanting them to stop and pay their respects, even those who didn’t know me and didn’t know my pain.

This tragedy cuts deep for us all. As President Obama said, these are all our children. But I see pictures of holiday parties and cookie exchanges and smiling faces, and that familiar feeling resurfaces. The sense that it shouldn’t be so easy to celebrate in the midst of such deep sorrow.

Perhaps the world continuing to turn is a gift. But right now all I can think about are tiny empty beds, Christmas presents that will be unopened, moms and dads, sons and daughters who will mark the holiday season with a tragic anniversary in years to come.

My heart is heavy.

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