Tag Archives: tragedy

Gunmetal Grey

I’ve been thinking about the Connecticut shootings since I was sat in the middle of an appointment, watching the newest gun-related devastation on a television in the waiting room. I wanted to write, but I could not find the words. I did not know the words. I still do not.

God,” my mum had said. “Look. There’s another school shooting in America. Oh God.”

I looked at the screen and the first thing I saw was the word ‘elementary.’ “That’s primary school over here. Jesus. They’re just kids.”

Kids. They were just children. Too young to know the world and now forever deaf and blind to it.

Words are going around in my head about gun control laws in America and my worry that I will come out of this stupor and forget, but that is better expressed in the extremely powerful words of Emily at The Waiting. For now my words are gone and dried and dead. I read not less than an hour ago a list of the names and ages of the children involved. The number ‘6’ ran down most of the page.

I have not cried in a very long time.

I don’t know what it is like to lose a child of my own. I’ve lost a sibling and I’ve lost a friend but I still don’t know. And I hope that I never have to. Today, tonight, I am trying to think of all the children that lost their lives. But all I keep seeing is a gun. It’s almost funny, because I’ve seen plenty of children. But in all the years of my life, I’ve never seen that gunmetal grey outside of a Hollywood film.

 

And We Move On

 

Everybody’s got problems. In every life, there’s a little tragedy, a little bump (or a huge hill) in the middle of the road. We can stay there and be left behind, stuck in the past as everyone goes by at their own pace, or we can move on with them. It’s never easy. It’s never going to be. But that’s life.

When I was twelve, my fourth sibling died. By which I mean my mother was pregnant, and due to a large amount of complications she was forced to abort. It traumatised her, it traumatised us. We held prayers in our garden, and I still can’t forget the tombstone from the graveyard that my sibling is buried in. For weeks, we didn’t know what to say about it, or to my mother, and a melancholy attitude settled on our house for a long time.  And yet, my strongest memory of the day I learnt my sibling was dead was going to school that day, and just sitting in the classroom and getting on. Moving on. The pain was still there, for all of us. When my mother was pregnant again, and she had to have special treatment for blood pressure problems, our hearts were in our mouths for nine months. And they’ve been since. We worried, we worry, we always will. But we moved on.

When I was seven, a close family friend died. He was hit by a car, and pronounced brain dead the next day. His mother had to switch off the life support. They’ve struggled to move on: his mother became alcoholic and her husband separated from her and took their young son away, his sister went “wild”. Maybe they’re still stuck in their past. Maybe one day they’ll move on.

Today is 9/11. Except that it isn’t, because that event happened eleven years ago. And maybe the world stopped for America then, but you can only pause for so long before you have to move on again. We had 7/7. We had Iraq, and the way things are going we’re probably going to have Iran. These are the defining events of our generation, but they will eventually fade away like the events before them, like World War Two is doing,  as the first all but has, as all the civil wars and massacres have. It will never be easy. It will never be as easy as I make out, sitting behind my computer screen and personally unaffected and unconnected to these tragedies unlike so many others. But every generation has its wars and its victims, and we drag our feet along for a while after them but, eventually, we have to lift them properly and just keep on, keep on. Move on.