It is with a heavy heart that I sit here and type this message. There has been so much sadness lingering inside of me since the tragedy of the mass shooting in Orlando over the weekend that I have not been able to shake since Sunday morning. I wasn’t personally effected, I don’t know any of the victims or their families, but there has been something so personally heartbreaking about the entire act, that I can’t help but think I am not alone in how I feel.
As a mother to a child, I feel shattered over the events that occur in today’s society. I remember vividly sitting and cradling Rajan as a newborn when the Paris and San Bernardino attacks happened, and it was during both of those times when I felt that first painful realization the huge amount of responsibility and duty to protect my son in any way possible. How could something so ugly and horrific occur in such a beautiful place like Paris, and how could something so heart wrenching take place in the community I grew up in, San Bernardino. I had never in my life felt so out of control of my surroundings, and terrified as a mother for the world I was raising my son in. After this weekend, I feel struck with heartbreak and sadness, and my level of comprehension for the tragedies we see all too often is too little.
I wrote a post last week and shared some of the books I want to read this summer, and in the post I wrote about being young and riding my bike to the library, making lists of books I wanted to read as a child, and even when I was writing the post, I felt a longing and a sadness for the amount of innocence in it all. I longed for the days of being able to hop on my bike and riding the library, alone, and thought of the simple task of writing a list onto paper because there was nothing else to fill my brain with other than the simple desires of childhood goals. I sat for a minute after writing that post, and wondered honestly to myself if my own son would ever get to experience such simple tasks. After this weekend’s tragic occurrence, and now sitting here scouring the internet and news sources and learning about all of the beautiful lives that were cut so short on Sunday morning, I can’t seem to shake the heartbreaking reality that is the world my son is growing up in, and thinking back to my thoughts last week, it literally pains me to know the answer to the question I wondered is ‘no.’ How is it fair to hear kids are terrified to go to school these days, that they fear such simple tasks as walking into public places, places like malls, theme parks, restaurants and movie theaters, all of the places I grew up feeling so safe in… that even now, I as a parent, feel a small pitter patter of fear walking through the gates of Disneyland? These kids hear it everywhere they go, they practice gun drills at school, they see photos and videos on the news, and hear their mom and dad have conversations about their fearful lack of protection against the world.
I am sad, and I am scared. I am sad as a mother that my son will not know the freedom and leisureliness of jumping on his bike and riding to a ‘safe’ place like his school or the library. I am sad that my son has seen more tragic events splashed across the television in his 19 months of existence than I ever recall seeing before the age of 10. I was 11 years old when Columbine happened, and I remember walking in from school being so confused about the occurrence and not even understanding an ounce of it; and to know that for my son this will be all too common kills me. I am scared that no matter what I do in my or his life, I will not be able to protect him during every minute of his life. Since as early as I can remember, and even to this day, my dad has always ended any and every conversation we have had with ‘be safe, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t go anywhere by yourself,’ because since my childhood, that was the only true danger that existed – not going anywhere by yourself… but now, its frightening to think that I can be holding my son in my arms and if a tragedy like Orlando were to occur, I just don’t even know what sort of safety I could provide for him. That as a mother, kills me. There were so many places I have always felt so safe: school, work, public domains, bars and clubs, all of which are no longer safe to anyone.
I don’t know the answers, I don’t have any solutions, and as a mother right now, I sit here wondering why I felt the need to share these fears. I guess maybe I just know that I am not alone in feeling this way, I can’t be, and that is the one solitude of thought that gives me peace of mind. I hold on to the hope that there is, there has to be, more good than evil in this world, and that one day, good will prevail. Through all of these horrific tragedies our children and the world sees these days, all we have to hold on to is the unity of love and unity of each family and community with whom we seek refuge. I can’t bare to think, as a mother, as a human, that there is no goodness left in humanity. Together, we have to overcome the bad, and we have to do so with love, respect, and kindness towards one another; it is the only way.
My heart breaks for all of the mothers, fathers, and families who lost their little boys and girls over the weekend. It is in their honor that will will squeeze my son, my husband, and my loved ones just a little bit tighter today and everyday. It is my hope that they know that despite the ugliness and horrific acts that took their sons and daughters, there is still beauty left in the world we live in. And, although I don’t know any of them personally, my hearts breaks with and for them, and in their honor I will do my duty to provide kindness and love to every race, religion, and human I come across, and I will be sure to instill the same into my son.