Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Worst news of the day

Years before PTSD took Bob away, and he worked for my dad, he would always get up and read the news from the computer. He did this every day.

Then when I would get up, he would want to talk to me about the worst news of the day. The saddest, the most unfair, the most inhumane.

For years I was into it. Feeling for everyone, getting worked up about the injustices and the horror. Putting myself in there. But as life kicked me in the ass a little more, I stopped wanting to hear it. It wasn't that I didn't want to hear it, I was that I stopped being able to handle it. My brain cannot wrap around it. I couldn't handle anymore sadness.

When these thing happen, such as the school shootings, and now this marathon deal, I do my best to ignore the news. I don't want to see repeated pictures of that little boy who died, holding up that sign about peace. I don't want to know every detail about the wonderful daughter another victim was. I don't want to see the man with his legs blown off. I don't want to disrespect and ignore these folks, because I believe they should recognized, and honored, I just can't go there for too long. I can't.

There is something exploitative about these things to me too. I keep wondering if I would want my baby's picture passed around Facebook, to help people prove they are compassionate. I guess I might feel like the whole world had my back. But I might feel like no one has a right to use my sweet baby for "likes" on a Facebook page. It is a strange place to be.

Then you have the folks who post fake pictures of people who died, just to see if they can fool people into "liking" it. I saw one that said an eight year-old girl was running the marathon in honor of all who died at Sandy Hooks, and she was killed. How strange and awful is that?

Bombing the marathon was a tragic, horrific, cowardly, bullshit, awful thing to do. It is impossible for me to imagine the fear. But I can't drown myself in images and stories about it. I don't do this to be disrespectful. I do this because it doesn't honor anyone to paralyze myself with sorrow. Thank goodness it gives me a second to take pause, and appreciate that life can be over in a second, and I better do the best with what I can, and forgive myself when I can't. And love, love, love people.


  1. You know, Betsey, I think that everyone has to cope with these things in their own personal way. I don't find anyone who fails to "like" or "share" or obsess over the news to be lacking any is horrific. I have found the most comfort in reminding myself - and my kids - that MOST people ARE GOOD. We can honor the people of Boston, the runners, the responders, etc etc in positive ways and it doesn't make you any more compassionate or thoughtful to re-watch the horror. Positive actions always trump re-living drama. As always, I look forward to your honesty and perspective.

    1. Thanks Taylor. I look at it as a form of self-care.

  2. Stay strong!! You can only do what you can do. It really is a strong reminder that life is short and precious and you just never know.

  3. I agree that honing in too much to the news is so much more painful. I can't hold those stories too, in addition to all the stories I'm holding for the people all around me who I'm encountering day-to-day. It's a normal protective mechanism for those of us who are sensitive to others' suffering. Thanks for writing about this, I really appreciate your blog.

  4. I totally agree with you Betsey. I am so sick of the way the news medial exploits these things over and over again. I am glad that they report it but we don't need faces and pictures and the 24/7 news coverage that has de-sensitized this entire nation into feeling nothing about these tragedies. I think you are spot on with this post. If that was my child the news would NEVER get his picture to exploit for their own use. I am ashamed of the media

  5. I really understand. When stuff like that happens it's all I can handle to see the headline on my phone, I can't bear to see it and hear it in loud colour and chaos on the TV.