I wasn't going to say anything about Monday, because there isn't really anything I have to say that is worth adding. The media blitz has begun, the barrage of hindsight, the voyeurism that invades our modern media coverage.
But I can't seem to shake this sadness--despite my Southwest location, I'm still a Virginia girl, through and through. My heart swells with pride at the mention of anything Virginian (presidents, tidewater, Richmond accents, ham, peanuts, even tobacco...you get the point). My Golden Brother attends Tech (and thankfully, he's okay). Countless friends, neighbors, neighbor's children, acquaintances attend Tech or are alumni (and thankfully, everyone I know or know of is okay).
Since visiting Tech's campus for the first time in the summer of 2002 with my high school friend Mawls, I always maintained that if I could do college over and had to switch schools, I'd have chosen Tech in a heartbeat. There's a vibe on that campus that I love--a camaraderie that can only be referred to affectionally as "Old-School-Styled-Spirit."
I hate that this happened and I hate that Tech, despite everything that is so wonderful with the university, will be known for this event for some time to come.
But this post isn't really about Tech. What shook me the most was my mother.
She called me, mid morning, at work to tell me what had happened, that a student had died and seven others wounded. I already knew what had begun at Tech and having called him earlier myself, I knew Golden Brother was safe in his apartment. The call was short. Not even two minutes later, she called me back to tell me that the news had just broken that it was not 1 student dead, but 22 and the count was rising.
I've never heard my mother's voice sound like this before. She was crying, but it wasn't normal crying. Her voice had this primal wavering quality, shaking through phone line, all the way to my core. It was a sound of pure desperation, of devastation, of disbelief. I can't even adequately describe the feeling that her phone call left with me.
When I close my eyes, I can still hear her voice echoing in my head, that raw quality reverberating in my ears.
Is this what it must be to have children? To know that at some point, crisis could befall them and you as the parent be utterly helpless to change their situation? To know that even though your own child is safe, there are 30-some other parents who will be getting the news that their child was not so lucky? To feel this naked pain for all those families?
Reading these words I have written, I see them fall flat, sincere as they may be. But these words are all I have.