Yesterday, I took Gus on Autopia at Disneyland. He drove, and I got a glimpse into my future just twelve short years from now.
When we left the ride and found Masa and Jude, I checked my phone. There was a text from my step-father letting me know that he’d spoken with my brother-in-law. That my sister and her family were all ok.
I looked at Masa quizzically, showing him the text message. “Oh yeah,” he said, then lowered his voice, “there was a mass shooting at an elementary school near the town where your sister lives. I just saw the headline as you were coming off the ride.”
Mass Shooting. Elementary School. Four words so completely incongruous with my surroundings, somewhere between Captain EO and Space Mountain.
He said the name of the school and I knew that it wasn’t the one my eight-year-old nephew attends. There was relief for an instant, but only an instant. Because there were twenty nephews, and nieces, and sisters and brothers. Twenty babies of mothers and fathers who believed that in a few fleeting years they’d be teaching those babies to drive. Who packed lunches while prodding those babies for the sixteenth time to put on their socks and wear their jackets. Mothers and Fathers who’d held every hurt and calmed every fear and always laid them down on their backs in the crib because you do everything EVERYTHING you can do to protect your babies.
And you know what I keep coming back to? Its not the families or the parents or the politics of guns. Though god knows I ache ACHE for those parents and families. But what I keep coming back to is how terrified those little ones must have been. How confused. How desperately they must have wanted their mothers. And how their heartbroken, flattened, mothers would have taken their places in a heartbeat. This is what I haven’t been able to get past quite yet.
It’s times like these that I hope, against all of my usual beliefs, that there is a God out there somewhere. And that those angels – all twenty-six of them – are being held tight in loving arms right now.
I’m sorry. I don’t have anything constructive to say here. I don’t have any light to shed or political rantings to put forth. The news trickles in and I can’t read past the headlines. They say that teacher hid her students in cupboards. That she saved them all. I’ve looked at her picture a lot. I hope she knows what she did.
Mostly, it just hurts. It hurts a lot.
And I wanted to write it out.