Too many Mamas buried their babies this summer. From the 49 souls that tragically lost their lives in an Orlando nightclub, to the little two year old boy who was innocently wading in the waters off a Disney World hotel, to a rising singer who was graciously meeting with fans after her concert, the list just goes on and on. It’s too much to even bear. As a mother, I want to gather my children together and never let them leave my sight. Delusional I know. It’s hard enough to get them to sit around the dinner table when we find ourselves in the same city.
Ironically, each of these horrific events occurred in places that were considered safe. I imagine, as any mother would, if my son or daughter told me they were headed out for a night of dancing with friends, my response would be:
With my toddler splashing in the water outside a prominent and popular theme park, I imagine would be standing inches away and saying:
If my child was performing before some of her biggest fans, I imagine I would call just before the concert and say:
There cannot be anything worse than losing a child, and the simple fact that all of these victims were doing everything right, having fun like they should be, makes this tragedy even more incomprehensible, especially for the parents who faced the unimaginable task of planning a funeral.
Weeks later, I still wonder why I have trouble getting all of these events out of my mind until it dawned on me this hit too close to home. When my son was three he played in those same Florida waters where we now know alligators roam. I can assure you there were no signs, and we didn’t think a thing about it as he knelt down and splashed his chubby little hands in the water. And how many of us have children who go out to nightclubs? If you don’t, believe me, one day you will. And the “Meet and Greet” where Christina Grimme reached out to hug what turned out to be a deranged fan? My 24 year old daughter works in the entertainment industry and she manages well known clients who must attend these same functions. She goes as well.
This is probably where I should talk about “live each day with passion,” or maybe something like “focus on the positive,” or the one I really loathe, “worry robs you of today.” But I am instead thinking of what author Stephen King has said: “There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her children.” And while I worry whenever one of my children hops behind the wheel of the car, I find that I’m just as anxious whenever they go to the movies, attend classes or even a concert. Paranoid? Probably. But with every good reason.
After the San Bernardino massacre, The New York Times published an article where they asked the following:
“How often, if ever do you think about the possibility of a shooting in your daily life?”
Thank God I’m not alone. Over 5,000 readers wrote to tell about their apprehension at being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it’s no longer just finding yourself on a dark street corner in a bad part of town with a blown out tire. It’s going about your business on an average, simple day. No longer are we saying, “It can’t happen here,” because it DOES happen here.
Now, I feel obligated to tell my children to scope out an exit if they are in a crowded place. Then I remind them to “have fun.”
I warn them if they find themselves in a closed-in space, like a subway, train, or classroom, to spot a place and hide if they sense danger.
Am I hyper sensitized? Apparently. I’ve been told by each of my children that I worry too much. It’s true. I’m the designated worrier in our home. And it’s exhausting. According to my own mother, it only gets worse. Even my father looked at me after I arrived home from the hospital with my first born and said: “Congratulations. You will never have a good night’s sleep again as long as you live.”
To those grieving parents, I truly think about you every day.