I remember the first time I saw my mom crying. She was
bawling, actually. I was in fifth grade. I
took my time walking down our long
lane and wondered if my mom had heard the news. When I met my mom in the
kitchen, I instantly registered her red-rimmed eyes. She clutched me to her
chest and held me in a tight hug. And then she sobbed. The Space Shuttle
Challenger had exploded. Word had traveled fast for the mid-80s. In school we’d
begun to cheer on the first teacher launching into space, then quickly shifted to
figuring out how to mourn the loss and the loss of the crew in such an abrupt transition
Growing up, a few other news stories brought my mom to
tears. But that’s the event that stands out to me. Because it seemed so far away. Like something that could never happen
to me or my loved ones.
I find myself reflecting on the first time I witnessed my
mom’s intense reaction to this news story because I’m a mom now. And too many
incidents have caused me to cry since I’ve become a mother. Too many tears.
I bring this up in the aftermath of Christina Grimmie’s
death this weekend, then yesterday, only a day later, a mass shooting at an
Orlando nightclub. Both significant losses occurred in the same city. My girls
and I were rooting for Christina when she sang on The Voice
. She mesmerized me when she sang “All of the Stars” with
Ed Sheeran. She had so much more life to live—so many more songs to sing.
I feel a sweeping darkness.
One could argue it’s because we’re more informed now, news
being shoved in our face every second. I believe it’s more than that. And that conversations need to continue
opinion-heavy lambasts. Dialogue with active listening, self-control, a will to
want to change this current state we’re in. Because I can hear the loud voices in
my head already. Gun control. Mental illness. Terrorists. Politics. Let’s be
honest, I’m not only hearing it in my head, it’s all over social media. People
have opinions and they feel entitled to share. Okay, all well and good (or not)
but I’m calling for productive
that carries the potential to lead to change. Not just venting
because we’re all feelings this—this foreboding lack of control.
How do we prevail
against darkness? By exuding light. And we can only do that if we remain
civilized, respectful, open-minded and introspective.
My kids are growing up with these news stories. They aren’t
as unusual or as devastating as they once were. We cannot become numb to this—cannot accept a world where it’s alright
to destroy one another.
Columbine. 9/11. Sandy Hook. It’s gotten much closer to
home. Tragedy no longer feels far away or like something that could never
happen to me or my loved ones.