Today was the day I have been dreading since J was killed almost 2 months ago. Today was the day I didn’t think I possessed enough strength to endure. A day that I was certain would define me as a person. It seems as if I’ve had my fair share of those days recently. Days that defined me as a person. Today for the first time, I saw the driver in person. Because of the fact that the blog is a public document, I don’t feel it is appropriate to discuss in detail my feelings about the case, charges, or even really how I feel about him; however, I don’t have to discuss those in order to convey to you how today defined me. I apologize up front for the blog lacking the normal humor you may be expecting, and I can’t even promise you it will be as analytical as I have been in the past. I can promise that this is as real as it gets. I will also apologize for the length – there’s no way to sum up a day that defines you as a person in a few paragraphs.
I feared this day because today would be the day I knew I would be crushed. As an educator, I’m called to find the good in all. To mold, shape, coax, and sometimes demand that they give me their best. And when I ended the school year, I felt I had given it my all. That I was doing the best I could at finding the good in all of my students. It’s what makes a good educator – never giving up, and returning again with a new battle plan. Staying up until 2 am to develop that plan, and then pretending that it was your plan all along!
Since I learned of this pre-trial date, I debated on how I would feel. I stayed up until 2 am trying to come up with a battle plan, a way I wanted to act, how I wanted to be perceived. The more I thought and “planned,” the more nervous, uncertain, and literally scared I became. Yep, I said it – scared. I wanted to face the fact that J was dead, and at the hands (whether intentional or not that’s for the jury to decide) of another person. I knew that my mind wanted to face this person, to look him in the eye, and to walk away with my pride. But I knew my heart wasn’t ready for that. As crazy as it seems, I wanted him to be a good guy. The educator in me ALWAYS seems to win. I always rationalize a way it could have been an accident. Maybe you will call me a liar, but honestly, I wanted for him to have made a mistake, to admit it, and for our lives to return to normalcy; however, my heart wasn’t ready for this not to be the end result. Today meant for the first time that my fantasy world, in which I was adorned in my survival costume, must come to an end. It meant it was time to face reality, and I didn’t know if I was ready for that. Really, how does one prepare for that? I prayed of course, and I assembled my Justice League. But, still I didn’t feel ready.
When I woke this morning, so many things happened even before the pre-trial. These really aren’t that important, except that I found myself being extremely bitter. Lacking compassion and happiness. Little man and I sat in the chair for quite sometime as I thought about the task that was placed before me. How one action, one choice, altered my destiny forever. And, this made me even more bitter. I was short with friends, ungrateful, and honestly, I wouldn’t have even wanted to be around myself. I had friends who rearranged and sacrificed for me, and here I was feeling ungrateful. Even realizing how I was acting, didn’t change my feelings. I simply wasn’t ready for my core values to be shaken again. Isn’t it enough that I’ve had this happen at least weekly for the past 2 months? And, I begin to wonder, “why?” Oh, the “whys” could go on forever.
I don’t even remember most of the events or conversations that lead up to the moment he walked in. It was all a blur. Again, a paradox. I wanted to see him, face my fears, look him in the eye, and then I wanted to run, to go back to my fantasy world where I can pretend that all people make the right decisions. Then, I thought, about something I said a while back, I refuse to be even more of a victim.
Yes, that might mean that I have my world views robbed of me, that my world of “unicorns, sparkles, and happiness,” would be ripped from me, but this is my fate and I was destined to live it for a reason. So, in he walked. And suddenly I’m flooded with too many emotions to name. And, while the whole ordeal lasted less than 5 minutes, in those 5 minutes, my world changed, yet again, forever. Again, because of the actions of others, I was forced to redefine myself.
As I left there, I was crushed. My world view was altered, and it was a this point, when I really understood how my husband felt all too often. How it feels to be surrounded by people who alter other’s lives without any regard for another’s feelings. And how it feels to see so much negativity. And again, I found myself attempting to be the pink behind his thin blue line – except this time, I wasn’t very pink. I have always been the person who encouraged him to see the good, even when he was surrounded by the bad. To pray, to encourage, to listen: those were just a few of my roles as the pink. Yet, for a LONG time today, I couldn’t find my pink. I couldn’t even encourage myself to see the good. And, I allowed myself to wallow in this for quite sometime today – all while being a bitter, and probably a really ungrateful person at the time. (And, please don’t tell me I wasn’t. I know myself. I know how I felt, and I know you don’t want me to beat myself up, but being honest with yourself is important especially at this time in my life.)
I put Little Man to bed, and I decided to try to block out the world for a while. I had to decompress. There were too many layers of feelings to even begin to tackle. And, so I put on some music, and begin to try to catch up on the lives of my friends. Maybe, just maybe, they had some good in their lives.
As I’m sitting in the recliner, my world was altered YET again. Yes, I know – I told you today was a defining moment. I have a very special former student in my life who is choosing to begin to walk the thin blue line. I’ve mentored him through a lot of different career paths, and honestly, I always knew he would put on the uniform someday. He is destined for it. I also now have the privilege of knowing his beautiful fiancé. I get to watch her journey of becoming his pink. And, today they brought a precious, innocent, baby boy into the world. I watched their videos of Baby B, and I bawled. I sobbed, and I waited for a moment of clarity. If I’ve learned anything in the past two months, it’s that there is ALWAYS a moment of clarity at the end of a good long cry.
I sat and watched the video a few times, and I begin to think of how great of a young man baby B is destined to be. I know that because of J’s decision to be an officer, and the morals and values it takes to perform his duties well, and because of the balance I brought to J’s life, that Little Man is raised differently than many other kids. He’s raised with the ability to see the world in its truest and most pure fashion. Little Man gets the benefit of his momma who always sees the good, and his daddy who tries to ensure there is some good left to see. And, because of that, he is beyond blessed. And today when I faced my worst fear, a beautiful baby was brought into the world. And today, instead of me being the pink behind the blue line, baby B was my reminder of the pink. The balance in a world that seems so dark far too often.
I smiled at the end of my cry because today on the same day that I finally gave in and admitted that there really isn’t always a silver lining to some people, was the day that Baby B was born with a chance to have numerous silver linings. He gets a chance to change the world, and his amazing parents get to mold him with the same values Little Man has. B’s birth today was a reminder of the good. And the fact that he is born to a future officer, is all the better.
Before writing this, I walked back into Little Man’s room. And I sat in the floor for a while. I thought about how my role in his life has changed. How I no longer get to be the person who always points out the good. And how over the past 2 months, unfortunately, I have had to point out a LOT of bad to him; however, I also realized that if I want him to grow up to be the person J and I wanted him to be, then I can’t just see the bad.
I can’t let the anger, resentment, and hurt eat away at me. Tonight, I realized that in a way, more of J rubbed off on me than I could have ever known. And today, the process of forgiveness begins. It’s a slow process, one that I’m not even sure I can really do; however, forgiving him is my gift to him, but moving on with a new attitude, one that combines both my educator outlook as well as my husband’s, is my gift to myself, my son, and Baby B. Little Man and B deserve to grow up in a world where people still see the good despite the bad.
It was in watching the video of that tiny baby, that I realized, the battle isn’t over. Just because I have absolutely NO battle plan at this point, no plan, and no general direction, doesn’t mean that I have to let the events of June 14th rob me of my world view. I can still see the good, but in a more realistic way than ever before. I’m more guarded, more protective of myself and Little Man, but I can still raise him to believe in the good because I am raising him to be the good.
Words really don’t convey what I’m attempting to explain. And for the first time, I’m writing this without really editing it. I want you to see my thoughts, to feel them, and to hopefully realize how important you are in continuing to create the good. So often our views are tainted by the one “bad” experience, and we just keep letting that define us. And the reality is, I could do the same. But I wouldn’t only be letting it define me, I would be letting it define our son as well. And, because of him and Baby B, and all those like them, we fight on. And, even though many times it feels as if we are losing, we still keep fighting. And our greatest weapon is how we raise our children.
Congrats to D and D tonight in the birth of their baby boy. He’s an inspiration, and he hasn’t even left the hospital. However, you two are an inspiration as well. You are reminder that there is hope, and beauty in a world that too often seems dark. And, I know you have waited FOREVER for baby B to be here, but I am thankful he chose today to be born. I’m thankful that God gave me a message loud and clear, and that we will keep fighting.