Two weeks ago, my beautiful nephew by marriage, passed in his sleep. No answers. My brother asked me, "Can you die of a broken heart?" They had just left Peru the night before and he was profoundly sad to leave his grandmother, who he had an incredible bond with. See, Renzo was 12, but due to severe prematurity, he was wheelchair bound and had the innocence of an infant and a smile that you could not forget. His grandmother in Peru cared for him for the first 6 years of his life. He was deeply in love with her. My brother thinks he just died of a broken heart as he felt the plane leave the ground to head back to the States. He will be missed beyond words.
One week later, the eldest daughter of one of our Cancer Moms group was killed in a car accident. She had just turned 18. This family had already buried their four year old son, who passed from a brain tumor very similar to Joshua's. They are an incredible family. Eight children, then seven, now six. There is a new sister on the way, it should be nine amazing children. The services were heartbreaking. Like Renzo, there are no clear answers as to what happened.
This past week, a sweet girl in Sergio's class, without warning, came close to coding in the classroom due to severe seizures. She left the PICU today but was very sick for a while. It happened in the blink of an eye.
Two days ago, at our local mall, a wonderful mom and her daughter were leaving a gymnastics class at 8:30pm. They were kidnapped and bound. The 10 year old daughter was raped. The mother, was stabbed to death. This happened just 2 1/2 hours after my 10 year old daughter left that same mall with her respite worker. I could not catch my breath for hours after I heard all of the horrific details.
Yesterday was my mother-in-laws birthday. She passed 5 years ago. She was more than a mother-in-law to me, she was a mother. She was an amazing woman who loved me as one of her own. I miss her immensely. Happy Birthday Mom.
Despite these overwhelming tragedies, life goes on. The kids go to school. Doctors appointments are made and attended. Tray did an amazing job in his play. He was incredibly proud to be a part of something so "normal".
I can't explain why bad things happen. But, someone asked me how do we change this culture of violence we live in. I thought about that. I didn't want to give a brash or off handed response as I started to. I opted to think it out. Then, we were posed a similar question in one of my graduate classes relative to the concept of social justice.
Truth is, there has always been bad stuff happening. The difference is, now there is a preoccupation with sensationalizing it. If you make a concerted effort to seek out as many representations of violence as you can find, then people will begin to believe that this is all our country is made up of. Violent, gun toting criminals. If you chose, instead, to report every great act of courage or wonderful story of kindness and love, then our country is now made up of caring, loving people. See, culture is what you hear, see, and live. Culture is the totality of what makes up a country or subset of people. To claim we have a "culture of violence" implies that all that we hear, see, feel and live centers around violence, for that is what culture is, the center point at which you identify yourselves. I dare say, the majority of American's are anti-violence. In fact, I would go so far as to bet that we could reshape the image of America simply by forcing media to report equally, good with the bad. To make national headlines out of good stories rather than just horrible events. To create the ever so popular "level playing field" for all media, as well as rules of play. People are sheltered from the good of this country, they only see and hear about the bad, because that is currently what the media needs to sell. WE have the ability to change all that.
So, this was a mish mash of stuff. But in the end, the point of it all is this. . . yes, terrible things happen. I have just witnessed three personally, but the amazing good that has happened in that same time frame is ever present as well. We need to focus on what we can do to help vs. what we can't do to help.
Hugs to all,