Thursday, December 20, 2012

Since last we spoke

Two days after the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, I posted a link to painting by Carson Ellis on Facebook. It essentially summed up how I felt about the situation. However, I felt it was missing something. What I wanted to see was those of us left behind, holding just the memories of the children, or those of us far away burdened with the story. The parents, teachers, fellow students, (and the rest of the nation), on the ground reaching up and wailing in protest. Strangely enough, I found this version in Wildwood a few days later.


I know this image is about Prue and sets the events of the whole novel in motion, but I will always associate it with this tragedy. Or at least for now I will.

Just as, for a while there in 2001, I would associate bright-blue sky days with airplanes crashing into buildings.


Anthony was at home to catch the radio-news about the shooting. I'd been on a slight radio-fast, dodging news of the shooting in Clackamas mere days before. Anthony not as often touched as I am by the icky news. Maybe it's because he doesnt fixate as I often do? This time I did not -- at least not that morning -- but let him absorb the initial shock. I let him hear the infuriating reporters interviewing children. There are a lot of children in my life, in a way, and even more people who have children or deal with them. Nannies, parents, siblings, nephews and nieces.

That evening Facebook and Twitter both were flooded with kneejerk reactions and rhetorical questions. I primarily stuck to PBS guides for helping your child weather the media storm in the wake of a tragedy, because that was basically where I was at. I revisited Kate Braestrup interview that night, to reorient my thoughts to, as Fred Rogers encourges us, the helpers.


In the spirit of helpers, we set up the kitchen and living room as Christmas candy-making central the next day.

Then later we walked over to Peacock Lane -- the local "it" place to see Christmas lights. A friend of ours recently who has moved into a room in one of the houses on the street, and we went to have a fire in the fire place, eat food and (as these things often happen) don banana costumes and delight (and confuse) people on the street. Flashbulbs erupted, and periodically our bananas would go out on the driveway for photo-ops.

A friend of mine was the first who put the pieces together for me. We were irreverent, but on the other hand, it was beautiful it was to bring happiness and laughter to children, whose worlds were shaken so deeply last Friday.