Like many other people, I was shocked and horrified to wake up to the news about the shooting in Aurora yesterday morning. Compounding the horror was how close it hit to home. We have many friends who live in Aurora, and know friends of friends who were there, injured or killed (no one we know directly, but close enough to make you realize how small this world really is). Another friend reminded us of how far reaching, in unexpected ways, tragedy can strike. A family member passed away the night of the shooting and her family couldn’t be with her because the hospital was on lockdown. Utterly unconnected to anything with the shooting, and yet it affected their family in a huge way.
Something else that made it hit home was that I could identify with practically everyone involved with the shooting. Many of the victims were around my age (20s-30s), even the ones who were parents & brought their kids to the movie I could kind of relate to (although I wouldn’t personally bring Emmie to a midnight showing of anything). Even the shooter I could relate to on a superficial level. He was a PhD candidate at CU Denver in neuroscience. I have many friends who are PhD candidates at CU Boulder, and some even in neuroscience there. He looks like he could be one of my friends. News is coming out that he had just taken prelims, something I can empathize with, too.
On top of that, I had many of the same thoughts as Gloria at wunderglo.com, who is a phenomenal cancer warrior and a huge inspiration to me. Basically (and less eloquently), we all have a limited amount of life on the earth, and none of us know how much we have left. Tragedies like this one painfully remind us all of that fact.
I’m also generally feeling down about the state of the world we live in. I’m trying to be more proactive in doing what I can to change things, but right now I’m feeling pretty down about it all.
But I think what really set this emotional funk over the edge was a matter of timing. I was trying to figure out exactly why I was feeling so down today, since all of the above things have been on my mind at least a few days, and then I remembered that this time last year, I was getting ready to start my interferon. My good and wise friend Katie told me long ago that our bodies often remember anniversaries, even when our conscious minds forget. She told me if I ever felt sad or off and couldn’t figure out why to look at a calendar and it might all make sense. I think she was right on for this one.
I didn’t really know, realize or understand 100% at the time, but this day last year marked the end of my time as a normal mom of a newborn (or as normal as it could have been). I could nurse Emmie, sleep with her, spend all day with her, and think of nothing but her. After the interferon, it sort of went back to some of that, but in reality, there was a whole month we sort of missed out on and we had to regain some of that ground.
Of course we are fine now and it was worth whatever sacrifice had to be made, but maybe I’m still mourning our abbreviated “normal” newborn period just a little bit.
I just watched this video my friends Carrie & Jonathan linked to and it gave me hope (and a good, cathartic cry). Just what I needed.
I think your blog is really appropriately named. With sunshine comes shadows.
I listen to a guy named Jim Rohn a lot… one of the things he often points out is something along the lines of "Could we have light if there was no darkness? The answer is 'it doesn't appear so'. And you say 'well, it shouldn't be that way.' And I say 'When you get your own planet, you can set things up however you want. But on this planet, that's how it is.' So enjoy the light, and work to destroy the dark with your own light."
Thank-you for being willing to share your shadows Shannon, and for being such a bright shining light in the world.