Americans are buzzing with the news of a tragedy in Aurora, CO. Perhaps it’s even international news at this point. I know that by tomorrow, it will already be a distant memory for most people who weren’t involved.
I first caught wind of trouble when I checked my facebook page this morning. It was a generally vague post:
And then I realized where “back home” was… and that it wasn’t just the United States. He meant home-home: Colorado. I started thinking about all the people I knew in Colorado and where they were located even as I scrolled through my timeline looking for other people’s comments–I hate watching/reading violent news because it’s always sensationalized and it usually upsets me. I handle it better and generally get what I need to know just based on how people react to whatever news is trending.
Aurora. Shooting. Movie theater.
Aurora… Lori and Ross.. maybe Bobbi, probably not Uncle Wayne or Uncle Brian.
Movie Theaater… What movie? Dark Knight Rises was opening…Lori likes batman…
What if Lori and Ross got shot?! *cue real panic*
This is when I nonchalantly texted Lori to see where she was at.. I checked for facebook updates and didn’t see anything from her yet. Ross usually doesn’t have an online presence and so I couldn’t tell anything on that front.
I finally sought out the news and found only a couple before I decided to pick up the phone:
Lori didn’t answer her phone and so I called her husband, Ross. When he picked up the phone and sounded so normal, so casual, so confused, I almost didn’t know what to say because I got choked up immediately. I stammered out something along the lines of “Are you okay?” and he replied “Yeah, we’re good.” and then I felt foolish and hurried off the phone with him because suddenly I was interrupting.
Round 1 of tears was not too bad because I did my best to just keep things under control. I went to the office bathroom and cleaned up my face. I tried to go about my day but of course, this news was on everyone’s lips. Yeah, my friends are okay, but there are other people who lost their own lives, the lives of their boyfriend or girlfriends, spouses, friends, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. And my heart broke all over again.
I got it together for a bit and then Lori actually called me too. We got to talk for a bit and I confessed to being embarrassed when I had originally talked to Ross, and about how happy I was that they were both okay. I got to give long distance hugs and let them know that we (Jeff and I) loved them (her and her husband).
My face was red and splotchy and I was just barely holding back another round of tears when my friend walked up. I exclaimed “They’re okay!” and made awkward choking/laughing/crying sounds as I sobbed for just a minute there. Gosh. I almost went home from work because I was feeling so emotional about it. I’m generally emotional, but it was a roller-coaster of a morning.
As I thought about it over the course of the day, I thought about the 9/11 attacks and how far removed I was from them. How I was nervous to go to the Mall of America lest it be a target for a terrorist attack. How I was scared to fly lest the plane be turned into a weapon. That is by no means any close comparison to this, but I also thought about school shootings and about how they couldn’t be predicted or really prevented. I thought about how passengers on an international flight bit into sewing needles in their sandwiches because someone else was disgruntled. And I thought about how I had to talk myself into doing the things that I do normally as an act of rebellious pride because I’m an American and you cannot crush our spirit.
So, as I drove home, I gave myself a pep talk. People are crazy, but there’s nothing you can do about it. You can either live your life sheltered and missing out on the joys, beauty, and experiences of the world–or you can go out and take a risk and do the things you love.
This weekend, I think I’ll go to the movies.