Thursday, November 8, 2018

Photo-Heavy, Heart-Heavy

Nightmares plague me in my sleep, one after the other, and despite the walks, the vitamins, the distraction of work, the talks with Mike, the donations made, the healthy meals, the frosting-covered treats, the focus on kindness and beauty, the books read, the magazines curled up with, and the visit home to family, the days continue to be hard too.  In many dreams since the 27th, I am being chased and am running for my life.  In one, I was hiding with Stuffed in a closet from a violent man who had just cut someone's hand off in front of me before I had escaped, and Stuffed and I were waiting it out until I thought he had given up on hunting us and we could climb out a window and run farther from him.  In another, I handed a small gift-box to a friend at work, and it was only when she hesitated to take it from me that I realized that she was Jewish and was afraid I was tricking her by handing her a box that contained a bomb.  Then the dream changed and I knew there was, indeed, a bomb inside and that we were in danger.  In one dream I didn't remember more of upon waking, Mike had told me that we would be okay but would need to stick together and be careful.  In one last night, I was standing on the boardwalk in my beloved Ocean City when I suddenly knew that the stranger beside me had it in for me and I needed to leave, and to leave quickly. . . .Knowing there are so many out there who have lived actual nightmares and mourned real losses of friends and family these past two weeks only makes me sadder.  
The day I caught the bus home to visit my parents and brothers, I walked out of the apartment only to find a news crew filming an interview a few steps from my front door:  One of the victims' funerals was being held across the street that afternoon.  (I had known that but hadn't expected to see news cameras in my front yard.)  The first time I visited the synagogue to leave my flowers, a newswoman who said she was from Denmark asked me how I was doing and a few other questions, and I awkwardly made my way for home soon after, uncomfortable talking at all, let alone while her partner filmed.  Maybe in awhile, when the news is paying less attention to this little part of the world--and being realistic, that will be when the next big gun violence story "steals" the spotlight--that will help some, I don't know.  A peace rally to honor the victims will be held this Friday, and I plan to attend, and maybe that will help some too, and again, I don't know.  It sounds like something that might feel like a step forward.  I have a growing list of letters to write--the mayor is on that list--and gestures of gratitude and recognition to pass along--the local police and the nearest funeral home are two on that list--and maybe getting those things done will help some, as well.  I want to give, give, give but feel fairly depleted these days.  
This is my favorite season, but the juxtaposition of the memorials and police tape with the stunning foliage and (all the flowers and) fall light has made the past two weeks even more jarring.   Relatedly, it has been mentioned over and over again that the site of the shooting was also quite literally the real "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," since Fred Rogers lived just three blocks away.  On the afternoon of September 11th, 2011, a fellow teacher and I were driving home together since our classes had been dismissed early, and while we listened to the news on the car radio and talked some along the way, all I remember of the commute home was how brilliantly blue the sky was.   And now when I remember the shooting and these weeks that followed it, I will remember how the morning I took my roses to the synagogue was the prettiest morning I'd seen yet that fall and how striking the fall colors were that year.  This is just life, of course.  And it goes on, as the saying goes. 

6 comments:

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Val ~ what a beautiful post in thoughts and photos.

Love certainly is stronger than hate, and 'love will prevail'.

Have a lovely November ~ FlowerLady

Anonymous said...

Hugs and hearts...diana

Lisa said...

I'm very sorry it's so difficult for you, Val. You're doing everything you can think of - keep on! I'm praying for you and your area there. xo

Jenny said...

Dear Val .... i wish for peace to bring comfort and courage to face the days, weeks ahead. i think it's good that you are looking for ways to help, finding things you can do, even though you feel depleted your the kind of person that will find some healing by giving of yourself, and this world needs more people like that....people like you.
❤❤❤❤ peace and comfort....hugs and love....

Val said...

Thank you all so much. ♥ Jenny, "even though you feel depleted . . .will find some healing by giving of yourself" is quite perceptive. You're right. I'll get there. 'Flowers the first week, a donation last week, the peace rally this week, maybe a letter next week. . .Yes. Thank you. ♥

Jenny said...

yes .... i know for me, the way i am "wired", i typically need to roll up my sleeves and do something. cook, clean, offer to help wherever i can. and sometimes i just shutdown and need time to myself. it sounds like your doing what you need to do, and that will help with moving through this tragedy. it takes time... your community is blessed to have you Val. 💕