Tonight, I don’t know.
Tonight, I watched a friend say goodbye to her soul mate, the father of her child, her high school sweetheart, at the age of 36.
Tonight, I listened to the story unfolding of yet another shooting rampage in the US.
Tonight, I put my children to bed and couldn’t help but think about what might happen if I ever lost them, how I could possibly keep living.
Tonight, I looked over at my husband and soul mate and said a silent prayer that all my anxious thoughts of losing him, in one way or another, weren’t actually foreshadowing events to come.
Tonight, the night feels darker, somehow. The darkness is pressing in, threatening to engulf me, even though I can look around and see that everything is okay.
My husband sits across from me.
My children are fast asleep.
And yet my heart pounds.
I wrote something, in the wake of the Paris attacks. I wrote about kicking at the darkness, about answering the guns with love, about filling our world with flowers and light, because love will always win.
But on a night like tonight, I don’t know.
What do we do? How do we fight this darkness that feels like it’s taking over the world right now? I know we’re supposed to fight with love, but how do we find enough love in this despair? How do we fight against this ignorance, even worse, this ignorant violence, that is threatening to overtake us?
My friend didn’t lose her husband to violence, thankfully, but on a day when violence and death were at the forefront of the news, it personalized loss in a way that drove home the pain of it in a way I haven’t experienced before.
Who lost their partner, their sibling, their child or their parent, today? Because of a gun?
And why does it feel like a numbers game, right now? That eventually, I will know someone who was killed in a mass shooting. That it’s a numbers game because there are that. many. shootings. happening.
I don’t know.
We all need to keep going, somehow. Most of us do that (I know, because I’ve asked) by closing our eyes and continuing to put one foot in front of the other. By pretending that it couldn’t happen to us, because if we admitted that it could, that it feels more and more likely with every shooting that occurs, then we might have to start figuring out a way to do something about it. Because, eventually, it will be someone we know who dies.
So what do we do? What can we do? Truly, I don’t know.
But I will be offering a silent prayer, in my own way, to everyone who lost a partner, a child, a friend, a parent, a sibling or a friend to violence, today. Knowing that prayers are not enough. Knowing this isn’t a scenario that good thoughts are going to change.
Not knowing what else I could possibly do, aside from squeezing my children a little tighter, or giving my partner one extra kiss, before I say goodbye every morning.
Tonight, beyond that, I don’t know.