Updated: Jun 12, 2022
It's taken me a few weeks to put into words my thoughts about the school shooting that happened in Uvalde, TX. While my big kid was graduating from High School so many parents were grieving the loss of nineteen little ones and two teachers.
I remember my boys at that age. The innocence, the smiles, and big hugs because they still think their parents are the best. Not a single parent across the country who watched this horrific tragedy unfold, missed the thought-- it could have been my child. That could easily be me grieving.
Parents shouldn't die before their children. I've worked with many people over the years on grief. Parents dealing with the loss of their children is one of the toughest. It's out of order with the natural universe. It doesn't make any sense and is usually unexpected. We never want to see our children hurt or imagine what kind of hurt someone else is inflicting.
The grief is heavy in TX and will be with us for some time to come. Sadness, helplessness, anger, and disappointment are just four emotions that show up in grief. When I think of this senseless tragedy, all four emotions are front and center. When these feelings are fresh, we talk about the tragedy, the people, and try to find solutions that make sense. We want to "do" something and that's what I'm seeing in my social media feed and the news. It's in the "doing" that we, who are left behind, feel better.
I'm not here to share thoughts on politics or gun control. I want to talk about the value of life. Of all those little ones that lost their lives--what was it worth? Can we as a collective find meaning in what we've all lost by their demise? Everyone holds their own tragedy, grief and trauma. It's the meaning we make of what's happened to us through our lives and the way it's changed us for the better that matters.
Unprocessed grief only leads to cynicism, sarcasm, resentment, bitterness, long standing anger and hurt, grudges, revenge, pessimism and so much more! We can't stop asking the good questions. Coming to an understanding for ourselves and making meaning from this matters.
How could another school shooting happen? Why did it happen? What can we do to keep it from happening again?
I believe that we've had a steady decline of respect in our culture that's been happening for years.
When my kids have to do active shooter drills at school--it's a sign of the times. It makes me think back to the 50s when kids learned to duck and cover during the Cold War. A war that was happening from the outside toward us and yet school shootings are happening from the inside at us. Never in my lifetime did I think this problem would be so prevalent.
I want to get to the root cause of the matter. As a health coach, I don't like bandaids for health or life. My aim is to find the underlying problem and come to a solution. What's the root cause of this violence and mental distress?
As a collective, we've lost the fundamental value of what it means to respect life from birth to death and every place in between.
With this lack of respect, we've stopped showing love. We've stopped showing empathy. We don't show up for each other. We stay in our bubble and that bubble gets smaller and smaller all the time.
We can take all manner of precautions (and we should)....Put a guard at the entrance and exit of the school. Restrict military grade weapons. Put in metal detectors at school. Make sure people are screened for mental health issues when they purchase fire arms. It's my opinion that we can put all of these "safeguards" into place, but until we start showing respect, love, and kindness to one another, we're not going to see the change we hope for in this broken world.
Hurt people - hurt people. This is a wake up call from the Universe, God, Mother Earth or whatever higher power you ascribe. Wake up world! From smaller communities to the world at large; pay attention to how you're treating your family, your co-workers, and your community. No one said it would be easy. Show up for the most important people in your life first with something to give--not depleted by the day's heavy load.
We have a long way to go to turn this culture around toward valuing life from birth to death and everything in between. It starts with YOU. It starts with ME.
Go hug your babies and loved ones tight today. Tell them you LOVE them because tomorrow isn't promised and what the world needs now more than ever is love.