When scary things happen in life like the events earlier this week, I tend to take a step back.
Because of the history of anxiety I had before we brought our children into this world, following the news stories like a hawk, dialing into social media for other people's reactions, or hearing every little detail as it unfolds sends me into a place I don't like to visit.
While it's sad to say, I just can't do it.
If I let myself sink into what is happening, to really listen and follow and hear and react, it drives me to be fearful of everyone and everything. It makes me want to never leave my house again. It makes me be on high alert at every corner I turn when with my children. It makes me stay awake at night, fearing for their future.
My way of processing now is a bit slower. I hear a little information, take it in, try to go about my daily routines, and allow myself to adjust as much as I can while still being in the moment with my family. I don't allow grief or sadness or anger to overcome me like it used to do, because I have others depending on me now.
But, as a parent, things affect me in so many new and different ways than previously. I can't hear a new story this week without thinking about those people. Someone's child, someone's mother, someone's everything. As a parent, my heart aches for those people in ways I never knew it could.
Just a few days ago on one of my weekend shifts, I was sitting in the nursing home dining room feeding a resident. In the background, a radio was playing soft rock music when an old Eric Clapton song came serenading through the room. It was the first time I'd heard the song "Tears in Heaven" since I became a parent over two years ago, and it took absolutely everything I had to remain planted on that chair, feeding that patient, maintaining composure. All I wanted to do was simultaneously run over and switch the station while letting the tears flow as easily as I knew they'd come.
Loss has become much more real and much more terrifying to me now that I've created life. But I just can't do it. I can't let myself stay in that place of fear or sadness or anger.
Just like those words flowing softly through the dining room a few days ago, I keep thinking... We must be strong. There are many, many good people in this world. Just because there are a few who aren't- that doesn't mean we have to live in fear. The good will always withstand the bad. They just will. We'll find our way. There will be situations that bring pain, that bring horror. We will learn how to react and respond better. We'll learn better ways to protect ourselves, but we'll also rise above and allow peace to be our only battle cry. Beyond the door, there's peace I'm sure. One by one, we'll take that step back into our lives. We'll pray. We'll love. We'll be calm and quiet and present again. Slowly, but soon.
As with the rest of this country, my thoughts go out to Boston tonight.