Frozen was the word that came to me last night after watching a brief interview with a parent who’d lost her six-year-old during the mass murder ten years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary. Yes, I will call it mass murder—because that’s exactly what it was. There is no beautifying such gut-wrenching cold-hearted death. Too, life for most of us is hard as it is. And that type of tragedy no one needed to experience. There is no upside to such a tragedy.
Time is frozen of the dreams that would be realized—gone. That is how this one mother described it. Afterwards, about an hour or so later, I watched a fiction tragedy. Or rather a multitude of tragedies all in one forty-two-minute show unfold. As I have experienced much, yet wondered what others do in real-life when they are frozen in time—with the death of a dream or a loved one.
I began to dissect what could be the correct feelings of a personal tragedy. Does a person wait to climb out of it? The frozenness of something incomplete, incomprehensible—the pain remains. You don’t get over the tragedy—whatever it is. You wrestle with it in each moment, day, week, month, year and the feelings evolve, but the pain remains. The loss remains frozen in time no matter the therapy, or the wonderful words you say to yourself, or others say to you.
Yesterday afternoon, I suddenly felt tired. I began to assess how much I’d been writing, researching, editing, re-writing and reading every day without a rest since November 19th. That day I had an all-day event and then had to drive 300 miles back home, and over 600 miles in a 24-hour time span. Yes, seven days a week I work on my writing.
So, here I was yesterday afternoon, stumped, mentally fatigued. I partially knew why. Too, something familiar was lingering in the back of my mind, which was compounded by someone else’s insensitivity that they were reckless in their words to me about six weeks ago. As natural for me, I pretended to ignore it. If they were one of my family members I would have lambasted them right then. Harshly, I would have verbally stripped them. That’s what happens when you’ve got brass ones, experienced much and feel you have nothing to lose. But with this person there was no intimate relationship I’ve had with them. They’re just someone more than likely I have to deal with temporarily.
I couldn’t put my finger on the name of what they did with their words to me six weeks ago. But what they stated was crass, crude and they knew it. It was intended to harm me, so it seemed. Yet, what it showed me was how disturbed they are. How spoiled they have been, how unaccepting they are, and too how jealous they are. Now, in my mind I have to reconcile how I may deal with them. I don’t think I’ll ever let them know how ugly their heart is. Sometimes you choose to dance with the Devil and sometimes you have to dance with the Devil.
The familiarity of this person’s words weren’t the words; it was their intention. In my sixty years I’ve had that same intention thrown my way and most times not responded outwardly. Yet what disturbed me was how the package of hatred was wrapped. Yet the subject matter was a common one for me; but not so much for them. So, where I am comfortable with quite an uncomfortable subject matter—they went into fear mode, and what came out of them was hatred. I’ve witnessed that before—quite a bit.
That type of fear pushes people away. It’s not the disease, neither the tragedy that pushes people away. It is the untouched whose fear pushes them away from the reality of the person who has experienced the personal tragedy. I was brought up quite conversely. With words like: “Don’t look.” “No one’s business.” Basically, no part of tragic-reality was discussed within our home majority of the time. You just knew something bad happened. You accepted the silence. I respected the silence. Yet in doing so all the time, there becomes a lack of acceptance of even the slightest bit of what may be perceived as failure. Which to the contrary may just be the process, in a life to be able to rectify a more global problem. So, upon belittling someone else’s personal tragedy; we harm the world. We keep society from progressing.
In conclusion, as much as we would love to ignore someone else’s tragedy, the more we ignore it—the more it becomes part of our fabric. And we become frozen creating less love, more fear, less health, and less safety for ourselves and the world around us.---Jody-Lynn Reicher