Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 74th birthday. Nearly every year, I post something to honor her, whether it be here on the blog or via another medium.
I woke up today thinking of my dear mother. Lots of things crossed my sleepy mind such as her rules and values, her disappointments and dreams, and her fear and courage. I pondered the significant events that occurred this year that would have made her proud. I recalled the decisions and actions I have taken over the past year that were, in essence, driven by what she had instilled in me. I speculated about my year to come and connected my current desires and drive to the 21 years I was blessed with her presence. Slowly, I formulated a rough framework of my piece about her and got myself out of bed.
As my coffee brewed and filled my house with that delightfully comforting smell, I read the news.
Stunned, I saw the headlines…Open Fire, Orlando Nightclub Shooting, LGBT Hate Crime, More Than 50 Dead and Injured…
Slowly, I read the full articles.
Numb, I took it all in.
I don’t know how long I sat there…long enough to let the fresh coffee grow tepid…but it was a lot to take in.
- I felt sadness as I grieved for the families.
- I felt horror as I realized how frightened the people in the club must have been.
- I felt anger towards a man I do not know.
- I felt confusion about a culture who has failed to protect those who need protecting.
- I felt frustration over a system that claims to protect our liberties but often puts us all at risk.
- I felt empathy for those who today, and in days and months to come, will live in fear and perhaps even deny themselves authenticity because of others’ hatred, bigotry and ignorance.
- I felt guilt because really, how can I ever do enough to make our communities a better place?
My coffee untouched, I went about my day. I went to mass as I always do, went to work because I needed to, had a bite to eat with a friend because I wanted to, and went for a walk because I had the time to.
More than 50 people probably had similar plans for today but, tragically, they don’t get to.
Therefore, I am jotting down these words because I feel compelled to. While you may think the horrific events I learned about today have replaced my thoughts of my mother, in reality, they become one in the same.
I hurt today, I am affected deeply today, and I am outraged today because of my mother.
“Heather, learn about others…learn what makes them tick…it’ll be enlightening,” she would say.
“Heather, people are different…that’s what makes them interesting,” she would say.
“Heather, never turn a blind eye to someone who needs help, ” she would say.
“Heather, if you look at someone long enough, you’ll always find something to love,” she would say.
“Heather, hate breeds hate – it will never cease until we refuse to give in to it,” she would say.
“Heather, when in doubt, be kind,” she would say.
I will try harder.