Saturday, December 15, 2012
The Newtown Shooting
Generally speaking, I don't get sucked up in these big events. Sure, I feel bad for the people concerned and wish them nothing but comfort and support from their families and communities, but I'm not going to lie, a lot of the time these occurrences are distant from me. However yesterday, a man walked into a school in the next state over from where I live and shot children. Around twenty families yesterday said goodbye to their kids yesterday morning, not knowing that that goodbye would be their last. Yesterday, I saw friends on Facebook torturing themselves over the decision whether they should pull their kids/siblings from school for the rest of the day. I saw parents that couldn't stop crying because their minds were tormented by the 'every parents' worst nightmare' scenario that was happening to a bunch of parents right then and there. For them, it was all too easy to imagine their own kids not coming home and they held them all the more tighter last night. Grateful and glad that they weren't those parents and that their kids weren't the ones. I'm not a parent. As much as I would very much love to be, that hasn't yet happened for my husband and I. I can't understand it on the same level as parents can, and in honesty, I could quite easily put it down to a psycho being a psycho. An unfortunate event, but random all the same. That was until a friend of mine said that his friend's kids were at that school and they didn't know if they were ok or not. It was a friend of a friend whose kid was there, not even the kid of a friend, but it was enough. Suddenly I found myself in tears, those six degrees of separation were closer than they usually are, and I was lighting candles and praying that these children I didn't know and had never met would turn up ok. A little later in the day, on a Facebook group, a group member talked about how her co-worker was waiting to hear if her kids were ok, they were at that school. I don't really know this lady at all, but the group is a pretty private one, and one in which a lot of us have shared a lot of intimate details. I added these children to my prayers. Prayer in heathenry is a weird old thing, there's a lot of baggage with something like 'prayer', although it's not just specific to Christianity, and for a moment or two I felt lost at what to pray. In spiritualism, at least as my family has practiced it, there is a belief that we go to our family when we die. That the family members that that already passed come to fetch us and that it's with them that our afterlife lies. I don't know how historically Heathen this is. A lot of people quote the whole store of Radbod the Frisian to back this point of view up in Heathenry, but I frankly don't care. When I die, I want to go to my ancestors. I want to be with my family and I want the links forged between my family and that of my husband's to last after death. My ideal would be us all living in a Hobbiton-type place in the afterlife. Nothing particularly spectacular, just together and contented. That's all, I guess I'm a simple soul. When praying for others, it's hard to pray in a way that isn't imposing your will upon that of those deceased, but a lot of people, Heathen or not, believe (or at least hope) that they'll meet with family after death. And so, for the past day or two, my prayer has been simply this: 'May their ancestors hold them and keep them until their parents and siblings join them.' Thankfully my friend's friend's kids were ok, but sadly, the lady from my facebook group didn't have such good news to report. Her co-worker's son was one of the murdered - a grim reminder that real life isn't like the movies and that a lot of the time, no amount of hoping and praying can save a person. Real life very rarely comes with a happy ending. I don't know what it is to be a parent, but my heart breaks for those parents all the same, just as it did for the parents of the Beslan massacre years ago. Yesterday my prayer was: ' May their ancestors hold them and keep them until their parents and siblings join them.' Today I add: 'May their families be surrounded by loving people and strong communities that support and comfort them.'