When 9/11 happened I was scared. I went to my grandma's and eventually I turned off the news and just played with BabyGirl who was only a few months old.
This time around things are different.
This time my heart is broken in a totally different way. This has scared me like no other incident.
I'm having a much harder time wrapping my mind around what happened on Friday than I did when those planes crashed 11 years ago. That was an attack, an act of war, of terrorism. I can grasp a militant Muslim group hating our country so much that they would attack civilians by the thousands. I cannot grasp what would drive a young man to shoot 20 small children in cold blood. I cannot grasp the loss and heart ache the parents and siblings and grandparents of those babies are feeling.
I cannot seem to step away from this. I cannot distance myself.
Is it because I work in a school building? Is it because the children are similar in ages to mine? Is it because one of the little girls looks eerily like Bitsy? Is it simply because I am a mother?
I told BabyGirl about it tonight. I didn't want her to learn about it at school and be totally unprepared. She knew there had been a shooting but didn't know any details. A few minutes later she said, "Why would people do something like that?" I hate giving her an answer that sounds like a cop-out. "I don't know, Honey. I really don't." I'd like to tell her he was sick. I don't know that. I'd like to tell her he didn't know what he was doing. The evidence seems to point elsewhere.
When I started work this year we were all given a hand book of sorts telling us the procedures for emergencies. What to do in case of a fire. What to do in case of a tornado. What to do in case of ice, earthquake, storms, etc. When I turned a page and began reading what to do in case of a terrorist incident or in case of an intruder, my stomach flipped and I went ice cold. I know we have to have such procedures in place, but the idea that they're necessary breaks my heart.
Oddly instead of being more lenient with the FarmHands in light of the tragedy, I find myself much more short tempered and out of sorts. I feel guilty when I'm angry at them. I feel guilty disciplining them. I feel guilty because I didn't hug them all tight as soon as they stormed the doors on Friday. I feel guilty because all I want to do is climb into bed and not get out any time soon.
When suicide and depression rates sky rocketed after 9/11, I didn't understand. The attack upset us all, but how many were actually affected in their every day lives? How many actually lost loved ones? How many lived through those horrors first hand? But now I understand. I understand how a tragedy that in no way figures into your daily life can break you into little pieces. I'm not saying I'm suicidal or even depressed. I'm just saying I'm struggling.
But in my struggles I'm also praying. I'm praying protection down upon our children and our schools. I'm praying for comfort for families that will never again be whole. I'm praying peace on the minds of children who've witnessed horrors no one should ever witness. I'm praying God will draw us closer to Him in the wake of the unspeakable.