Aurora, Colorado

When I was in third grade a girl in my neighborhood was killed while crossing the street.

Things like that didn’t happen, did they? I couldn’t understand.   She was my age.  Would I die crossing the street?   I couldn’t go to school for a week after the funeral.  I was too scared.  The world had become a place of sharp edges.

At night I lied still in my bed trying to imagine what it was like not to be.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around eternity.  I still can’t.  I learned the trick is to not try.

My son is in third grade and I can’t figure out how to explain the atrocity in Colorado.  There’s no one to explain it to me.

Senseless isn’t a big enough word.

I’m tuning out the arguments of “if only’s.”  The victims’ families will be celebrating birthdays, holidays, weddings and countless other events filled with “if only’s.”  Their grief will be greater than anything most of us can imagine.

We kept the TV and radio quiet this weekend except for the Cubs’ games and Ron Santo’s induction in to the Hall of Fame.  The Cubs lost, which brought normalcy.

Vicki Santo’s tribute was wonderful and uplifting.  It was Sunday’s high point.

I don’t want my son to stumble across the story alone.  Without me or his father to explain that random acts of violence happen but he shouldn’t be afraid.   He’s a smart kid.  He’ll have a lot of questions.  Knowing him, he might be able to come up with better answers than I can.

As I tried to string these thoughts together I came across a post on Facebook seeking help for a comedian from Colorado.  Caleb Medley took his wife Katie to the midnight premiere of Dark Knight.  They were celebrating their last few carefree/ childless nights leading up to the arrival of their first baby.  Mother and baby were not injured, but Caleb was severely wounded.   He has brain trauma and has lost an eye.

So, even though I wish I didn’t have to, I will answer my son’s questions and do everything I can to ease his worries.  I know what I want him to understand- that we can’t live our lives in fear of what might happen because that can keep us from enjoying what is happening.

And I will donate to Caleb’s fund and pray for a family like mine.