Thank you, Nerthus, for that epigram. It's exactly where I am right now.
I could not go. I just couldn't make myself get in the car and drive there.
Others were there; I saw them on tv. I love them and I know they would have hugged me and comforted me and made me feel strong and powerful and happy to be alive. But I could not go.
The 9/11 flag is in Tucson as I sit here at my desk. I could have been in the Safeway parking lot at 6:30 this morning to watch it fly from a hook-and-ladder. Pat and Colonel Bill and Faith and Roger were caught by the cameras and the reporter mentioned that Pam was in the crowd but I couldn't do it. I couldn't get in the car.
There was a private, no media invited, flag folding ceremony near Christina-Taylor's statue up in Oro Valley after the fire truck was finished with the fabric. It was designed to honor the first responders. I really should have been there but I couldn't make myself go. It was my plan to attend. I'd told my personal heroes that I'd be there. I was dressing and preparing and I stopped. I couldn't do it.
Right now, at this very moment, heroes are stitching the proper fabric onto the remnants of Old Glory. I ought to be here, smiling at the woman who staunched my bleeding and called my husband and kept me calm and smiling and alive..... alive....
(Pause.... I'm too teary to type right now.)
.... but I can't make myself drive down to the University and meet her.
"Your job is to heal." That was the advice from the social worker at UMC. Nothing else was to rise to that level of priority, he instructed me. "You have one job and one job only" he said, and that's been the backbone of my recovery over these last 6 months. I give myself permission to leave early from parties and dinners to protect my aching hip. I sit when others are standing. I have scaled back my expectations as I wait for my body to catch up with my mind. And today, I allowed myself to say "No."
I have never had the big cry, though I have certainly had my teary moments. I've never held my head in my hands and wept for C-T, my favorite 9 year old. I've not wailed and ranted and screeched at the heavens for the tragedy that fell on my short-but-sturdy shoulders. I've not allowed the slightest crack in the wall I've constructed around the sorrow that I know is lurking inside. I don't know why, but I haven't. I'm safely within Nerthus's boundaries, I guess.
I don't want to go back to the scene of the crime. I won't learn from it. It won't teach me anything. It will not enhance my healing.
I don't want to go backwards. The legal wranglings over medications and prison policies will go on and on and on. Reporters will call and ask questions and want me to turn my thoughts back to January.
I just don't want to do that any more. I want to let the tears flow and then I want to move on. My yogi was quite stern with me this morning, exhorting me to move forward and don't do it if I don't want to. My classmates were hugging me and giving me permission and my guilt was overwhelming but I listened and I learned and I relaxed into the healing.
I'm going to stop typing now and find a comfy chair and feel sorry.... for Christina-Taylor and Gabe and Gabby and Dory and for me. I am going to wallow and let a therapist hold my hand. And then I am going to follow all those fingers pointing forward and I am going to walk.... not lumber or limp ... I am going to walk, one foot in front of another.....into the future.... without CTG or an unperforated body or a sitting Congresswoman.... but with grand expectations and an open heart.
That is, after I go through a box or two of tissues.