Friday, December 14, 2012

When the Best and Worst in People Collide

So, my day started out pretty good.  I was working on an email this morning to send to a group of people I believe possess what we all strive for - kindness, generosity of spirit, and the need (not desire - need) to help their community.

This all came about because yesterday I sent out the monthly newsletter for to let everyone know about a new program we are hoping to put together in 2013.  In general, we're working to provide those who are interested in starting support group get-togethers in their communities the tools they will need to make it a success.  I didn't offer much in the way of details about the program and just said that if anyone was interested in starting something, to let me know.

Immediately after sending out the newsletter, emails began downloading into my inbox.  I teared up at the sheer goodness I have found in this widow(er) community and their willingness to make a difference.  That a bunch of people would say, "YES!  I want to do this for others" and not one of them asked the question, "What's in this for me?" was a humbling moment.

So, I was feeling pretty good.

And then I turned on the news.

As the whole world knows, a horrific thing has happened, one that I'm still trying to wrap my head around.  Details are still coming in, but a man opened fire in an elementary school in Connecticut killing many, the majority of them children.


Now, I'm crying for another reason.  I've had to turn off the TV because I just can't process this yet.  I'm in my office writing this, but what I really want to do is go to my kids' schools, take them out, and hug them for the rest of the afternoon.  I'm itching to start shopping around for someone who can put bars on my windows and ask King Soopers if they will just start making regular deliveries to my house so that none of us have to leave its safe walls again.

Diane Sawyer reported that the evacuating children were told to close their eyes as they left the building and hold on to each other.  And I can't help but picture my own children - all elementary school age - being told to do something like that.  While we are all grateful for those who survived, we know that those children will never forget this day.  And they have just learned that the world can be an evil an age when all they should be thinking about is Santa and the magic of the holiday season.

I know I'm not alone in how stunned I feel.  I also know that, like many people reading this post, I've had to shut my mind off a little because like anyone who has experienced loss or trauma knows - the lives of many have just been changed in an instant.  And we can't bear to think of the road that some of them have ahead.

I don't know what it's like to lose a child.  I hope I never know - losing a husband was enough and I'm hoping that Fate has filled my Tragedy Punchcard.  But I don't know that that's true anymore than anyone else out there.

This morning - with both the good and the evil in people visiting me within the same hour - was yet another reminder to me to hold those I love close when I can, hug them fiercely, and appreciate each moment.

That every minute we have with each other is a gift.

And now, I'm going to get back to emailing all of those people who embody the good.

Because the bad is too much to bear.

Widow Chick (aka, Catherine Tidd) is the owner of and the author of the upcoming memoir Confessions of a Mediocre Widow (Jan. 2014).  She is also a writer for The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas and a contributor to several books on grief and renewal.

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