So. This happened. Not five minutes from my house, a suburban mother killed her two kids (aged the same as the Captain and the Little Miss), then herself. A stay-at-home mom who walked her kids to school and was head of the Neighbourhood Watch. Her kids would have gone to the same high school as my kids.
I didn’t write anything after Newton. It felt odd to act like nothing had happened, but I just did not have the first clue as to what to say. I couldn’t even process it, couldn’t fit something like that into the world that I know. Of course, we have to talk about it, we have to figure out how we can avoid something like that happening again, but on the other hand, I need to pretend it didn’t happen, need to lock it away in a small corner of my brain so that I could bring myself to send my kids to school again, and believe that they were going to be okay.
I didn’t even talk to my kids about it. I worried that they might hear something and have questions, but in the end I trusted that if they had concerns, they’d come to me. In the meantime, sitting down with them seemed to give the whole matter more weight than I wanted to give it, make it more real for everyone when I wanted it to just be a scary story someone told me once. I didn’t want to download my own fears onto them, to have them share the feeling that the everyday world had become a dangerous place. They shouldn’t have to feel that way. None of us should.
And now this. I sent them to school this morning again with nary a word. Will someone else say something at school? Will they come home with a secret fear that the next time I yell at them, I’m close to snapping?
That woman was like me in so many ways, yet she seems so far away, too. I’m grateful, so grateful, that I’ve never had to struggle with depression. I have fantastic support from friends, neighbours, sisters, and my husband, all of whom are willing to listen when I’ve had a crap day, willing to take the kids for a while so I can get a break. I have bad days and cranky days and screamy days, but I always have found the strength to set my sights on the next day, with a new resolve to make it a better one.
I am so, so lucky.
I really believe there’s nothing anyone could have done here. Something like this is so far outside the world as I know it, that it would never enter my head as a possibility. Even those close to this woman could never have thought for a second that this could happen. It’s the unthinkable. It’s impossible.
So I will tuck it away in that little locked corner of my brain.
But I will ask for help if I need it.
I will offer help to other moms in need.
I will take a deep breath and take a moment for myself in times of emotional stress.
I will find the strength to carry on.