Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I wonder what post traumatic stress feels like.  Or survivors guilt.

I am not even remotely close to the tragedy in Connecticut, I don't know anyone who had a child at the school or worked there.  I don't even know anyone who lives in the area.  But I am affected.

I am on edge.  I am snapping and grouching at the slightest offenses.  I have this anger.  I'm just angry.

And when I'm not angry I'm sad.  I cry at the drop of a hat.

All day long I've been running around buying kris kringle gifts, treats for parties, gag gifts for our traditional Christmas dice game, and extra wrapping paper.  I spent hours upon hours wrapping gifts, begrudging every minute of it.  My heart just wasn't in it.  

It is a guilty feeling that sits in the pit of my stomach.  Here I am going on with my daily life while others are suffering the greatest loss of their lives.  It is so unfair.  Planning parties, and Christmas concerts, and plays, while others are fighting to remind themselves to breath in and out.

This tragedy brings all the world's suffering into such focus.  There are people suffering every day, even those who were not involved in the massacre in Connecticut.  Suffering is everywhere.

Tonight we took the kids to see Santa.  Further down the very long line I caught a glimpse of my friend's husband with his three children.  A lump immediately formed in my throat as I was just thinking about him and how he was doing this first Christmas without her.  Last year she was the one who dressed them all in their fanciest clothes, fixed their daughter's hair perfectly, and together as a family of 5 they went off to get their annual picture with Santa.  This year, in their regular clothes, they stood as a family of four.

It is not fair that my life is going on, business as usual, as others are struggling to make it from day to day.  And then I have the gall to be grumpy too yet.

I wasn't even going to write about it.  I'm trying not to even think about it.  But there it is.  It sits in the back of my mind constantly.  It has left a mark.

We have all been affected.


Anonymous said...

I think we have all been affected in on way or another by this tragedy. Certainly not on the same level as others, but affected none the less. The only thing we can do is remember, and hold our loved ones a little closer. I think the words spoken by the father of one of the children said it best when he said "Let it not turn into something that defines us, but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people."

Lora said...

Just wanted to let you know you are NOT alone...I have been really struggling with thinking "I should just be so grateful my kids are alive and safe" but FEELING just constantly angry and upset and I have like ZERO patience. I keep trying to talk some sense in to myself, but so far no dice. I think maybe I just need to really let myself feel sad/upset/angry instead of trying to resist it. Anyways, you aren't alone.

lime said...

it's good you can recognize your feelings for what they are. your blog is a safe place to express it so you can put it out there and deal with it and heal.

it doesn't matter that you weren't directly involved. this is a wounding event which has an epicenter from which the pain spreads out in ripples.

i've dealt with PTSD myself after a home invasion robbery. it's better to talk about your feelings than to pretend they don't exist.


Riahli said...

I feel the same way, I've been crying over everything, totally overwhelmed and snippy. It's a combination of anger that this happens, and total heartbreaking sadness. And a hopeless feeling that there is nothing that will make this better. I look at my just barely seven year old and I can hardly breath thinking about this latest tragedy. I explained what happened to my children in simple terms {I'd rather talk to them about it first then have them find out some where else and get freaked out} and we held hands and prayed hard, that is all I can do. It was so hard to choke back my tears listening to my kids earnestly praying with me for strength for these families in this time of unbearable pain. Their innocent sweet voices. Thinking about what the other children saw that no child should have to see. I don't even know how to deal with the way I feel right now.

Logophile said...

Oh man, I am really feeling you on this post. I am like an exposed nerve right now and my family has definitely noticed.

It has indeed left a mark.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Thank you for writing about it!! I thought I was going crazy- didn't I just say that I was going to hold my family tighter and be more patient and present? Instead, I wake up angry, snap over hair ties or worse- over small, cut up pieces of paper on the floor (from paper snowflakes)--what is wrong with me?! I know I'm not feeling the usual Christmas build up stress because we've cut so much out this year, so it must be the tragic news. My heart just hurts. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone. (((Hugs))) Kat!

Bijoux said...

I agree with Lime, your blog is a safe place for you to discuss this. For me, I know that if I watch the news stories, the funeral coverage, etc., I will become physically and emotionally sick. So, I just don't watch it. I turn the channel, I leave the room, I skip the stories in the paper. And I don't feel guilty about doing it. My being grief stricken over it is not going to change what happened or help the survivors in any way. Hope that doesnt come across as cold, but it's how I've learned to deal with it.

Charmaine said...

Hi... i have just recently been following your blog... i just want to add my voice from across the seas [South Africa to be exact] saw it all on the news... every pain-filled moment... i too am shocked and saddened...at a loss... my youngest is 6 ... i am VERY AWARE that most of those precious little kids were also only 6 ...

Kat said...

Thank you all for letting me know I am not alone in my feelings. All over Facebook I was reading about how people were loving on their kids even more (and of course I am too) but I am just so out of sorts too. I wish I could just be all lovey and kind but there is this underlying anger that has messed me up. It is like the stages of grief, and I am not even directly involved. I can't imagine what those families are going through.

Bijoux- I have been avoiding all news about the tragedy too. I just can't watch it. I can't.
I wasn't even going to write any posts about the tragedy because I just didn't think I could do justice to what happened or adequately explain my feelings on it. But so far I've written about it twice now. Hmmm.

Anyway, thanks everyone.

Jeni said...

I don't know if it's the enormity of the event or the fact that all these children were victims but I don't think any of us will ever be able to wrap our minds around such an atrocity. Certainly the families of these victims will never be able to fill the void and my heart goes out to them. To lose a child, it is said, is the greatest grief a person can endure. I can't attest to the accuracy of that but just the mere thought of something happening to one of my kids and now, perhaps to one of my grandchildren, is something that I don't know if I could ever handle grief of the type that would bring. Other than to just try to put one foot in front of the other and force oneself to move, in the hope that one day the pain will lessen, at least somewhat. It is a terrible ordeal for the families to endure and regardless of whether we have any connection to them at all, it matters not because it touches nerves so deep in everyone. Just know, Kat, that you are far from alone in coping with these feelings. We ALL are doing as you are -just trying to gain some modicum of understanding, somehow, somewhere.

Mom24 said...

I'm so glad you wrote it and so sorry you're experiencing it. It's really just impossibly awful, isn't it? It feels so wrong and hard to just go one with the business of our lives and almost like we're not appreciating our luckiness? blessings? if we don't. I have no answers, but plenty of empathy.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

There's a lot of that going around, Kat. Trust me, you are not alone.

Dawn said...

(Hugs) to you Kat. You're not alone. I don't have answers either. It's hard to move on from something like this, even when it doesn't directly affect us.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

For my own well being I can't dwell on the tragedy in CT. It won't do anyone any good and it will do me great harm. I am so depression prone and struggle daily...when something like this happens, I have to limit my exposure to it. Not ignore it, but I just can't read much and especially not watch much on TV about it. I just can't.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson