Friday, June 19, 2015

I Erased The Message

I purchased new cordless phones for our land line today. Pause for applause from The Cuters.  I plan to resell or donate the old set, so I went through the directory and the call log and the message center, deleting all the inputs.

I thought about the messages, focused on the kids' voices I'd saved at triumphant moments, and realized that I'd be able to record new ones quite easily.  I pushed Delete All.

I didn't think about the message Nurse Nancy left on the morning of January 8, 2011, telling TBG that there had been an accident and asking him to meet us at UMC's Emergency Room.

I had a moment of unease, knowing that it is now lost forever, and then I came to a realization. I can leave it behind.  It's okay.  No one will judge, and if they do, I don't care.

I don't need to have it on the machine; I have it in my head and my heart and I can pull it up whenever and wherever I want it.

But I don't need to dwell on it, I don't need to wallow - although there were times, early on, when that was all that I could do.  But that was then and this is now and I'm not there any more.

The memories don't spring up unbidden... at least not as often as they did before.  I conjure up the deep emotions, but on my own terms, not theirs... at least most of the time.

Graceful David, back at our Pilates studio after an absence of too many months, could tease me today about moving my legs into 90/90.  

"Look at her, doing it all ... without complaining ... using her abs and not her hip flexors."

And he's right to mention it.  I've made lots of progress since he's been gone, and, while hearing it gives me the impetus I need to carry on, that's not why he's saying it.

He's really noticing a change, and I don't think it's only in the physical arena. I'm lighter in my being as well as on my feet.

I'm no longer surprised that I pass, unnoticed, through the Tucson airport.  I no longer start every third paragraph with "Before I got shot..." or "Since I was shot...."   I'm reminded of January 8, 2011, I'm not constantly tripping over it.

It's no longer the defining event of my life, though my limp reminds me of its centrality to my existence with every lurching step.  It's become burdensome to carry the weight of the tragedy in the front of my brain, and I've been able to push it back where, I think, it belongs: brought out when needed but otherwise locked up tight.

Of course, when there is this in my life
it's fairly easy to do.

That day will always be with me, just not front and center.
I'm okay with that.
I wrote this post with the Charleston church massacre in mind.

No one should have to think these thoughts.
No one should have those messages left on their answering machines.
No one should bleed in a church or an elementary school or in front of a Safeway on a sunny, Saturday morning.

As Sarah Garrecht Gassen wrote two years ago,
giving in on the fight for increased public safety means giving up on every person who has been stolen from us with a gun. .......We can’t give up. The price is too dear.

Change must come at the legislative level, because, as Amster reminds me, You can't fix crazy

It doesn't have to haunt you night and day in order to be relevant.


  1. One thing could be done about this recent shooting-- make the one who gave this mentally sick person pay a legal price. They say it was a birthday present from his father. All it takes is to look at the shooter's history to know how wrong that was. What if we started charging such people? Might others think twice before enabling such a vile act? Maybe they didn't know but in this case, the father did. He also is likely part of the hate this shooter grew up hearing. It is a thought as no gun law currently proposed would prevent that father from buying one. People who are allowed to buy guns have a responsibility to keep them where others cannot access them but to out and out give them to someone like this shooter, that's criminal in my mind.

  2. I'm with Rain, the people who provide guns need to be held accountable too. It's no different than giving someone a bomb to terrorize. I'm angry too that with every shooting, victims of past shootings are victimized over and over again. And it's happening with such frequency in this country that people are becoming desensitized to it. It's quite scary this is becoming "normal". I'm glad you are moving on, but you and others are constantly being pulled back into your own nightmare. It's wrong and something has to be done about it. I hope the shooter in SC is punished severely. He's not only killed nine people, but he has hurt thousands of others too. I wish our society would look at the true cost of gun violence. It doesn't just touch victims of the actual shooting but many others too.

    Sending you love and hugs!

    Megan xxx

  3. Apparently, this gun present was covered under the absence of a federal straw buyer law, but I agree - send the parents to jail.


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