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As it wears away

December 9, 2007

Little by little my life is creeping back in and pounding on my head demanding to open up and be let back in. It was safer and easier to be in shock and disbelief. How do you believe something like this has happened? How do you begin to catalog this in your brain, your memories, the things that you know.

I know how to set up an IV piggyback, make pancakes from scratch, dye my hair, where to tickle my children to make them mad with laughter, what beer tastes like in Holland, that I love D, my house is drafty, my cat is a pain in the ass, the older I get the more I look like my mom, I know how to snorkel, I can tie a sheet and make it fast, ice skate and my list goes on and on.

But I also know how 3 children died at the hands of their father, their daddy and watched as their mother was murdered. How do I put that into my head? Where does it fit? It is a pale and heavy thought opaque because it is so hard to believe. The reality of what has happened to my friend and her family is slowly sinking in but how I begin to accept it as part of my own history I still don’t know.

Everything that we do, from the mundane to the magnificent, becomes a part of who were are. Each act, each moment inching us farther and closer to who we might become. There is always the push/pull of one step forward and two steps back as we learn how to benefit from our new knowledge. As babies we learn what things hurt us and what things do not. As young children we learn when to speak and when to be quiet. We find our way and learn where we can fit in with our family. With our friends.

I imagine the end of your life, at that very moment, your choices become crystal and translucent and you see how it all fit together.

I don’t believe that happened for those children. I believe that they must have realized in those long minutes as they each waited out their horror that their world was nothing like they thought. The people there on earth to love and protect them could not and did not.

I don’t think I will ever be able to forget or tuck away somewhere neatly those last moments for my friend and her children. It makes me disbelieve in the one thing I do believe in…people.

How can a person, a PERSON, do what he did? How can someone be so selfish and evil to do that to someone they loved? A stranger affords some distance and ease in not knowing what you are taking away. He held them as babies, played with them, was their daddy and then in their last moments showed them everything they ever believed was a lie.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2007 3:43 pm

    “It was safer and easier to be in shock and disbelief.”

    It is easier. You’ve learned it, I’ve learned it– It’s all part of the grieving process. I think you’re going through the stages; only to slide back through the stages, so on and so forth.

    I promise you that this is normal. Thinking of this horrific act is something you need to do at this stage. I think you’re so raw that it’s hard to breathe deep. I know you hurt.

    I wish I had words to comfort you. I don’t. Please just know many people are thinking of you; sending love all over the U.S. I’m so sorry this happened.


  2. December 10, 2007 1:57 am

    Oh, sweet Cole, you give me chills up and down my spine. You are so articulate even in all your pain. Your writing is so beautiful and vivid. You are speaking for your dear friend and her children. You are keeping their memory alive in the world. That is the most you can do, memorialize the innocent victims of Evil, just plain Evil that human beings are capable of. It’s a mystery to me how that can be, after a lifetime of pondering it.

  3. December 10, 2007 8:38 am

    I cannot imagine anything more awful.

    I’m so sorry, Cole.


  4. December 11, 2007 2:02 pm

    cole: i’m afraid to write anything to you, for fear it will just be …you know, blah-blah-blah.

    there is no understanding it. there is no accepting it. there is only cleaning the lips of your own wounds so that you and yours may live decent lives, on your own behalf, and for those who were robbed of theirs. that is why writers write, when they use words at their best, as you do.

  5. December 11, 2007 7:14 pm

    For some reason I wass compelled to come back today. I’m not entirely sure why. I struggle with hearing about events like this. Always my mind strays to the horrified thoughts the children must have had in their last moments. I felt this way when I heard about Andrea Yates. I felt this way when I heard about a case here in Tennessee, where a single mom working two jobs fell asleep in a friend’s apartment, but had left her two children in the car on one of the hottest days on record. I can only imagine how they cried for their mother, wondering when she would come back.

    I know, because I have had those moments.

    It doesn’t fit with the sane and the logical. On one hand we want to understand why, how does it work in the grand scheme of things? I determined some time ago that there are some things that are better not to understand. There are some things that in order to understand we have to tread into territory we might not be able to come back from.

    The best we can do is figure out how to continue on in our own lives, and hopefully use it to make a difference in others. We have to find hope in a world where it seems hope is scarce, and use it to combat the next tragedy. I’m sending you hugs, though I wish I could offer better than a couple of paragraphs and condolences. Some things are too big for such trite little bandages to cover.

  6. December 21, 2007 10:02 pm

    Cole, I’m sorry I’m just now reading this. I’ve been away and then sick and haven’t had much time or energy to read the blogs.

    We have had two friends (church friends, as a matter of fact) who were murdered by family members: our friend Cynthia was murdered by her ex brother-in-law, who had Schizophrenia, and our friend Karen was murdered by her ex husband, who then killed himself. Her children found them when they came home from school.

    Such crimes are atrocious and there is nothing one can say about the depravity and rage that go into them. I’m not a believer in capital punishment, but one also doesn’t even want to think about a person who could do such a thing ever, ever walking the streets again. Putting oneself in the place of those children and their mother in the last moments of their lives is beyond words. I’m with you in heart, and I’m sorry.

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