Notes on Uvalde
Things are better since yesterday. My manager let me go early last night because I explained I felt I had to be with Isaias, and she was very understanding. So I was with Isaias, and all feels better now.
Isaias and I had both ended up buying flowers in remembrance of Nena. So we have some sweet-smelling flowers to remember our sweet mama.
Even Grizzy likes the flowers.
But I have mixed feelings about what I really want to post about today.
Yesterday, I came across some very powerful, inspiring, and haunting words that had supposedly been written by one of the mothers of one of the children killed in the recent Uvalde massacre. It was such a palpable account of what a parent might be feeling who has lost a child in such a way that it moved me.
What was disappointing was that it had not, in fact, been written by any of the parents of any of the children; that someone had profited off someone else's pain by writing a piece claiming to have been written by the specific mother of a specific child. I suspected this when I read it. It was a really well-crafted piece, but there was something that felt false to me about it. It almost felt too crafted to have been written by one of the parents, if that makes any sense.
And yet, the piece is so well written and thought-provoking to me. It is sad to me that the author couldn't have just written it without attributing it to a grieving parent or including specific names associated with that child and her family. And yet, as a statement, it moved me in a way that made me feel I should share it. And yet, I am also conflicted because sharing it means giving an author who didn't actually experience any of the things he or she writes about more space and exposure at the expense of another family's pain.
I found an edited copy that removes all the names attributed to the family of the woman who supposedly wrote it. Does that make it better?
But as a piece of art, it is well-written. It "feels" like it could have been written by a parent who has lost a child to a mass shooting.
And yet, the piece itself is a lie. It is a piece of fiction that, unfortunately, captures the truths of a event in a way that I had not witnessed before. It feels almost real, although it is not.
So do I post it or not?
I have decided to post the edited version. Both the original version and the edited one are anonymously written, although the original version was wrongly attributed to someone who didn't write it and was written as though she did.
So just know this is a work of fiction written off somebody else's pain. I think it was wrong of the author to do that. He or she likely has a pro-gun-control agenda and was using this moment to promote that. Not right. I don't like that.
But I, unfortunately, think the piece still is worth sharing. It is a piece of skillful writing, and I think it captures a feeling that is worth sharing. The author, while dishonest, is still talented, in my opinion.
So here it is. You may do with the piece what you will and react to it however you may. I am simply posting it because, lie or not, is still moved me.
Notes on Uvalde, by UNKNOWN author:
The chicken soup in her thermos stayed hot all day while her body grew cold.
She never had a chance to eat the baloney and cheese sandwich. I got up 10 minutes early to cut the crust off a sandwich that will never be eaten.
Should I call and cancel her dental appointment next Wednesday? Will the office automatically know?
Should I still take her brother to the appointment since I already took the day off work? Last time he had one cavity and she asked him what having a cavity feels like.
She will never experience having a cavity.
She will never experience having a cavity filled.
The cavities in her body now are from bullets, and they can never be filled.
What if she had asked to use the bathroom in the hall a few minutes prior to the gunman entering the room, locking the door, and slaughtering all inside?
Was she one of the first kids in the room to die or one of the last?
These are the things they don’t tell us.
Which of her friends did she see die before her?
Did their blood and brains splatter across her Girl Scout uniform?
She just earned a Fire Safety patch.
What if it got ruined?
There are no patches for school shootings.
Was she practicing writing GIRAFFE the moment he walked in her classroom, barricaded the door and opened fire?
She keeps forgetting the silent “e” at the end.
We studied this past weekend, and now she doesn’t need to take the spelling test on Friday.
None of them will take the spelling test on Friday.
There will be no spelling test on Friday.
Because there is no one to give it.
And no one to take it.
These are the things I will never know:
I will never know at what age she would have started her period.
I will never know if she had wisdom teeth.
(Or if they would have come in crooked.)
I will never know who she spoke to last. Was it the teacher? Was it her table partner, George?
She says George is always talking, even during silent reading.
Did she even scream?
She screamed the lyrics to "We Don’t Talk About Bruno" at 7:58 AM as she hopped out of my car in the circle drive.
She always sings the Dolores part, her sister sings Mirabel and I’m Bruno.
“And I wanted you to know that your bro loves you so Let it in, let it out, let it rain, let it snow, let it goooooo……..”
Did the killer ever see Encanto?
Could we have sat in the same row of seats, on the same day, munching popcorn?
What if she brushed past him in the aisle? Did she politely say, “Excuse me,” to the boy who would someday blow her eye sockets apart?
Was he chomping on bubble gum as he destroyed them all?
If so, what flavor?
Was the radio on as he drove to massacre them? Or did he drive in silence?
Was the sun in his eyes as he got out of the car in the parking lot?
Did his pockets hold sunglasses or just ammunition?
These are the things I will never know.
There is laundry in the dryer that is hers.
Clothes I never need to fold again.
Clothes that are right now warmer than her body.
How will I ever be able to take them out of the dryer and where will I put them if not back in her dresser?
I can never wash clothes in that dryer again.
It will stand silent; a tomb for her pajamas and knee socks.
Her cousin’s graduation party is next month and I already signed her name in the card. Should I cross it out?
That will be the last card I ever sign her name to.
The dog will live longer than she will.
The dog will be 12 next month and she will be eternally 10.
What will the school do with her backpack?
It was brand new this year and she attached her collection of keychains like cherished trophies to its zipper.
A beaded 4 leaf clover she made on St. Patty’s Day.
A red heart from a Walk-a-Thon.
A neon ice cream cone from her friend’s birthday party.
Now there will be no more keychains to attach.
No more trophies.
Surely they can’t throw it out?
Would they throw them all out?
19 backpacks, full of stickered assignments and rainboots, all taken to the dumpster behind the school?
Is there even a dumpster big enough to contain all that life?
These are the things someone else knows:
The moment the semiautomatic rifle was put into his hands--was “Bring Me a Higher Love” playing in the gun store? “Get off my Cloud” by the Rolling Stones? Maybe it was Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”
Did the Outback Oasis salesperson hesitate as they slid him 375 rounds of ammunition?
not my problem my kids are grown and out of school
Or I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to worry about their skulls getting blown across the naptime mat
Or fingers crossed there’s a good guy with an equally powerful gun that will stop this gun if needed
Did they sense any danger or were they more focused on picking that morning’s Raisin Bran out of their teeth?
My Nana used to say, “Pay attention to what whispers, and you won’t have to when it starts screaming.”
But now I know there is a more deafening sound than children screaming.
More horrific even, than automatic rifles on a Tuesday morning.
I beg the world:
Pay attention to what’s screaming today, or be forced to endure the silence that follows."