The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Transforming Tragedy December 16, 2012

It is unthinkable. It cannot fully be comprehended. And the families of those who died in Connecticut this Friday have only just begun a lifelong process of intense grieving. Hopefully, there will be healing one day. Heartbreakingly though, that day is still a long way off.

Media everywhere is full of the images. Facebook posts are almost exclusively about the story. But I refuse to give it my attention, my energy. Why? Because what is done is done, it is out of my power, and in my opinion the most constructive, helpful thing I can do is to send my love to the survivors. I will not succumb to rubber-necking at such a tragedy. I do not need the immense heartbreak in my own life, but rather I need to cultivate love and understanding in the most personal ways possible (as do we all, I might guess.) I need to help the world move away from events like this, and I don’t believe watching the videos of horrified parents in real time will contribute to that. I strongly believe that “where your attention goes, energy flows”. So I’ll continue to remember the survivors and send them my thoughts of strength, support and love (aka prayers and good energy).

There may be those who would not agree with me, but I don’t worry for one second about the people who have just died, as I believe they’re in a far better situation right now than we are. We, who have been left behind to finish our lives in this dense, love-hungry world have the short end of the stick, plus a lot on our plate. If we mean to elevate this world from its darker aspects, we need to live in our world responsibly, courageously and peacefully, and do all of that under the patient guidance of love. The more we live in love, the more we’ll live in understanding – and forgiveness. And truly, we all aint free until we’s all taken care of.  So we all have a tiny bit of personal homework to do each day. All you can do is all you can do – but still, you do gotta do it.

We who are still here need to take this event – and other tragedies as well, minute or massive – and transform them into opportunities  for change and improvement, whether that may be in our own hearts and minds, or out in the world working for gun control or access to mental health services… Change of course, starts within, and as a ripple in a pond starts small then grows…

My own thoughts are turning to action now too… I have several people in my own immediate family who live with untreated mental illness because of the great stigma and embarrassment that still, in 2012, accompanies these diseases. Frankly, under the right mix of anger, resentment and booze, if armed, my brother could kill me. I’ve seen it in his eyes – the eyes of a person deeply entrenched in the distortions of mental illness. Yet no agency will come to his (our) aid until he does something violent (ya know, until after he shoots his sister.) Apparently, they need hard evidence before they can intervene. So the pot simmers, and we hope it never blows. All cuz the laws keep our hands tied from helping my brother to help himself.

There’s a lot to be done. Myself, I’m going to keep my work personal, focusing on keeping my own attitude positive and loving, living in forgiveness as I’m able. But there’s some big-time, real action that needs to me done too. And I hope that the conversations that have started up won’t die down too soon – not before they’ve inspired some folks to take up the charges of gun control and mental health care.