I can’t remember the last time all the flags weren’t at half-staff.
This is not at all what I wanted to write today – not at all anything I want to have to say.
But it is true. It struck me, ironically, on the MORNING of February 14th as I drove past our area’s city and county government buildings, and then also by 2 schools. The flags were half-raised, and I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a flag raised to the top of a pole.
We are a nation always in mourning, it seems. And within a few hours of my trip through town, our mourning would be renewed.
Maybe “compounded” would be a better word than “renewed,” as it seems now to come not in waves that ebb and flow, but instead in quick hailing succession that floods our collective soul in an endless, bottomless ocean.
The deluge is crushing. It overwhelms.
That is the truest word I have. It overwhelms me.
Hearing and speaking the truth that in 2018 there have been so many shootings AT SCHOOLS in our country overwhelms me. (Evidently we have reached a place where we also have to split hairs over WHAT TYPE of gun use on a school campus actually qualifies as a “school shooting,” which overwhelms me.)
Seeing my 6 year old not-so-much scared anymore as angry and indignant – hearing him tell me that someone should fix it because “Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility” and even he, AT fucking SIX YEARS OLD knows we are falling down on the damn job as country overwhelms me.
Coming to grips every second of every school day from the time I pull into the tuck and roll hug and go circle and watch him walk toward the school – a little life I have the sworn universal directive to protect with every fiber of my being – that in spite of all his amazing teachers and administrators do, something beyond horrific may happen to him because that is now-more-than-EVER-before a possible truth cripplingly, awfully, and completely overwhelms me.
It makes it hard to leave his sweet, sleeping self in bed each night after our chapter of Harry Potter, so I lay in the half-dark of his superhero night light, watching him so quiet and calm and begging every power in the universe to protect him.
It steals my thoughts during business calls – leaving me wondering what he and his sweet little classmates are thinking and feeling and doing during their days –if they are safe physically, but also if any hearts are hurting, or feelings are ignored….
Or if any of the multitudes of intricacies that make up the growing little people in his class and his school are maybe going quietly unnoticed or being harmed – and what can I do, and what can we as community do, and a country, and why are we not talking about it, and WHY THE FUCK ARE WE NOT ALL SHOUTING ABOUT IT EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL OUR KIDS DAMNIT WHY WHY WHY!?
So yeah. I am overwhelmed.
Scared, and angry, and sad, and confused, and desperate, and mortified, and tired, and brokenhearted, and in pain, and incensed, grieving, and raging, and lost…
But fighting. For him, and for always…Fighting like hell.