By now you’ve undoubtedly heard of the senseless, horrific tragedy in Newton.
There are no words.
There is nothing I can say to offer comfort or peace, to my readers, to the families. To myself. A tragedy of this magnitude goes beyond words. It is sheer gut-wrenching emotion.
We’re all affected differently, and yet similarly, at the same time.
I hadn’t intended on writing anything about Newton. I haven’t posted on Facebook. Words have escaped me.
The only reason I’m writing today is simply to share my perspective with you. When all is said and done, that’s all I do on any given day – share my perspective – whether it be about painting or coping with the unexpected loss of my husband.
Many, many times I have wanted to stop blogging, for many reasons. Even before Marlon died. But I promised him last April I would continue, as he felt it was important for me to write, to teach, to offer my . . . perspective.
There are days that pass by when I can’t muster the strength or enthusiasm to write. Those days have clustered together more frequently since Thanksgiving. I thought I had prepared myself for the emotional ‘blues’ around the holidays.
I was wrong.
It all seemed so insignificant. Decorations, crafts, paintings, baking. Nothing made me feel better. Nothing held my interest. Each day I knew I was slipping deeper into the pit of depression yet I couldn’t get a foothold to start the climb back up to some emotional stability or balance.
Like most of us, upon hearing the news I was sickened with shock. My immediate thought was for my grandson, himself a kindergartner. Like most of us with precious children in our lives, I began imagining what if it had been Santino? Dear Lord, I can’t, I won’t even think of it.
Then it hit me. He’s safe. He’s okay. I still get to hear his laugh, feel his hugs, watch him grow and change every week.
I am blessed.
Blessed beyond words.
Minute by minute, step by step, I climbed up out of that deep dark hole and gave thanks for the many lights in my life.
How utterly strange and odd to find personal solace while others are experiencing a loss too awful to comprehend.
Or is it? Is it strange to take time to count your blessings in the wake of others’ tragedies? I don’t think so.
Just because I’ve experienced the death of my loved one, does that make my prayers for those parents and grandparents any more powerful? Absolutely not. Should I be riddled with guilt because today I stand in full appreciation when just a day ago I was lost? I don’t think so.
As horrible as any tragic circumstance is, everyone who witnesses or hears of it is affected differently. If they have small children in their life, if they are a school teacher, if they have a recent loss, they’ll have different reactions.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
That was to be the end of this post. But after seeing some interesting and disturbing discussions, by bloggers, on social media in the last couple of hours, I wanted to write a different ending.
Different people, different emotions, different lives. Different lifetimes.
I’ve seen a range of emotions on social media since Friday morning. With differing opinions and reactions.
I remember someone once said “You can’t fully judge another because you haven’t walked in their shoes or experienced their life.”
(I wish I could’ve remembered that when I was being judged by family members for how I grieved/continue to grieve Marlon’s death. Let’s just say, it was from a different perspective from my own.)
As thoughts ran through my head for this post, and whether or not to even write it, so did deep emotions. I wanted to write something . . . I don’t know what. Moving? Maybe. Comforting? Doubtful. I haven’t found much comfort myself so that’d seem a bit presumptuous. I googled prayers, psalms, sayings about peace, sorrow, loss.
Nothing felt ‘right’.
And then I wrote something in one of my blogger forums in response to the question of whether or not to observe a day of silence Monday for the Newton families.
Some bloggers are choosing to, others are not. I understand both sides and respect them equally. But still, it struck a chord with me. We are not all going to agree with each other because we’re all different. We blog for different reasons. We have different perspectives.
What did I write in that forum? Do what makes YOU feel better. There is nothing we can do to make those poor grieving families feel better. I know that all to well. Then I wrote one more thing -
Be the difference you want to see in the world.
What? Where did that come from? Oh, if only I could do that for one minute each day!
Then I thought I remembered something I wrote shortly after Marlon passed. I wasn’t sure though and had to go back and reread it. Yep. Sure enough. I wrote a “Manifesto” of sorts just two weeks after he died, when I was still in shock, in disbelief. When I assumed that time would pass and I would heal.
I will let my light shine.
Time has passed. The Newton tragedy happened seven months to the day of Marlon’s death. My healing? It’s a long, long process. I wouldn’t call it “healing” at all, actually. Things are different. Life goes on. Some days are better. Some days aren’t.
I can’t begin to imagine the depths of despair those families are in right now, and will be for some time to come. I don’t want to imagine it. While I feel terrible about what happened, there’s nothing I can do to change it other than pray. I wish there was.
What I will try to do is be the best I can be at any given time. That’s all anyone can do. Whether that means offering prayer, words of comfort, humor, or maybe just the joy I find in simply painting, well, that depends.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
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