Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colorado, State Of Mourning

Day 313 of Sobriety

I clicked on the computer at 5:15 am on Friday and read the Yahoo news banner, "Tragic Shooting At Colorado Theater.  As I read the story, I thought of all the parents of the young people attending the premier and my first thought was, "I hope they were sober when they got the phone call."

Strange thought, huh?  But maybe not for me.  Because for all of my boys' teenage years one of my biggest fears was that I would get one of those horrible phone calls in the middle of the night, the kind you know are going to change your life, and not for the better, and that I would be drunk. Or even worse, maybe I would be so passed out that I would never hear the phone at all and it would ring on and on through the night, while my child struggled, alone and afraid, wondering where I was, while other family members gathered and held vigil, while others held him, while my child gave up the fight.  Without me.

It could have happened any given Friday night, or Saturday night, or any night or any day.

Did it keep me from drinking?  No.  Instead, when I moved onto the boat, I started turning off the phone every night and I told myself and everybody else that I did it because there wasn't anything I could do in the middle of the night, on a boat in the middle of nowhere.  And every morning I turned on that phone and the computer with a feeling of dread, fearing what might have happened while I was nonchalantly drinking my life away the night before.

Luckily, I've never missed one of those phone calls because luckily none has ever been made to me.  Now, in sobriety, the excuses are gone, and the phone is on and even if I'm in Timbucktu, should, God forbid, one of those horrific phone calls come in the middle of the night I will be with my child, or grandchild, or friend, or brother, or sister or whomeve,r in spirit and in thought and in prayer.  And in sobriety.  They deserve that.

As to the tragedy in my beautiful state, I have no answers.  I wonder why our state seems to be so beset with people that intend harm to masses of others.  Columbine, Platte Canyon High School, and now this?  Do they come there because others have wreaked evil before them and have shown them the way or does the beauty of Colorado amplify the desolation of their own inner landscape?  I don't know but as I've said on the message boards, the only antidote I can think of is kindness.  I have to believe that some act of unkindness, or several acts of unkindness, is what triggers a pursuit of revenge in these beings.  Some act damaged them bad.  I took my grandson to lunch yesterday and I asked him who his best friend at school is and he said, "I don't have any friends at school they all make fun of me."  This is a cute, funny seven year old kid who does well in school and when I ask why they make fun of him he shrugs and says he doesn't know.  These people that do these unthinkable things were cute little seven year old kids at one time too.  We've got to make kindness an esteem worthy, admirable trait again, instead of a sign of weakness.  And when faced with unkindness, we need to combat it with kindness, the way the family of Emily Keyes, the heroic young girl who lost her life in the Platte Canyon High School Hostage Tragedy, are doing with the Emily Keyes I Love U Guys Foundation.

Kindness, people. To Others. To Ourselves.  Don't drink today and keep the phone on.

Love U Guys!

P.S.  If you haven't already read Jodi Picoult's book Nineteen Minutes, it's a real eye opener into what drives people to do horrific things like what happened in Aurora. I think I need to read it again but today I'm going to spend time with my grandson and show him how to be kind.


  1. A beautiful, honest post especially "does the beauty of Colorado amplify the desolation of their own inner landscape".
    I believe in your kindness, all your writing emits kindness and grace. Sometimes it's easier for me to be kinder to others rather than myself though so I'll carry your words with me.

    I haven't read Nineteen Minutes. Have you read We Need to Talk About Kevin? No answers in it but interesting insights nevertheless.

  2. I also lived in fear of those phone calls and thought about them often over the years. I am so grateful that now that my boys are teens, should, God forbid, a phone call come...I will be sober.

    In fact, a call from a friend came one night a few months ago. She needed a place to stay because she was afraid...her husband was the one who was drunk and out of control.

    So happy I could be there for her. So happy you can now be there also.

  3. This was straight-forward, clearly expressed and full of wisdom. I'm glad your phone is on. Courage and care triumphs.

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  5. Signe, I got your comment via email, I don't know why it isn't posting here. Thank you for your kind words. Kary