Saturday, December 15, 2012

Raspberry and Honey Parfaits...friendships and healing



As my fingers crawl to the computer and try to tap out thoughts about what misery must be whirling in the hearts and minds of so many families in the U.S., a louder and more forceful question pushes through and resonates the sadness that has engulfed our nation.   That question is ringing in the ears of the country and reverberating from one sound wave to another...

Why?

Why are these heinous murders happening in the U.S?  It is undeniable that this great country of ours is suffering mightily.  Is it that mental illness is being overlooked, ignored and undiagnosed?  Do our laws about gun ownership need to be strengthened and tightened in relation to mental evaluation?  Are there other issues that are being missed or eluded, yet to be uncovered?

Why?

This time however...why little babies?  Why murders in schools and shopping centers?  Why is there so much anger that continues to bubble under the surface of the fabric of our land?

I no longer have a little one trotting off to school, climbing those big steps of a bright yellow school bus, waving a tiny little hand at me with either a big happy grin or an anxious expression of uncertainty.

I can hardly imagine the underlying fear that must be going through the minds and hearts of parents who are buttoning up their little ones, adjusting backpacks just right and sending angel kisses to their kindergarteners as they head out the door.




Riley and I watched the situation in Connecticut unfold on the computer from our kitchen table on Friday.  We moved from one online news source to the other in horrified silence.  

"Write a one page article on Aristotle's "Poetics" and how it relates to Creon's actions  in the tragedy "Antigone".  And...then another news alert would flash across the screen..."Kindergarten children possibly killed in a mass murder..."

As a mother, I looked at my son and tried to ascertain how this generation processes horrifying news in one minute and moves on with daily life in the next minute...

"Write 10 sentences in passe composé about what you did yesterday..."  Another news alert, "Principle killed...parents running madly towards school to see if their children are alive or dead."

We tried to continue on with the normalcy of our day while wiping away tears of sorrow and heartache imagining the parents who one by one picked up their little children until all that were left were parents...and no more little children.



We moved from english, to history, to french with a dull semblance of regularity while watching the death toll climb.  

Some children injured...
Some children killed...
An entire class unaccounted for...
10 children, 15 children, more children not reuniting with their horror struck parents.





Days before this mass murder began unfolding across the screens of the nation, I made this dessert for a wonderful friend who came into town for a business trip.  We had a relaxing evening sitting around my kitchen table enjoying a sweet potato and goat cheese tart, sipping slowly on a nice merlot and catching up on our friendship that started in Michigan when our children were little babies and toddlers.

Little did we know such a heinous crime was being planned by a very young adult who must be mentally ill.  I think we must all believe that this boy was deranged and ill because if he was not, then the shock and horror become magnified and completely incomprehensible.





I wanted to write about the beautiful transitioning of friendships over time.  I wanted to write about how much friendships take on more meaning and depth as we as mothers and women become more relaxed and accepting of our strengths and weaknesses in this world.

But, all I can think of is how much those little kindergarten children will never grow up and sit around with close friends they have known for decades.  They will never chat about the pros and cons of their sons and daughters while eating a goat cheese tart and sipping on a nice merlot.

Why?  Why is this happening?  We all need to welcome the dialogue that will ensue from this tragedy.  Let the discussions begin over issues like gun control, mental illness, school security, family values, and divorce.

Don't be afraid to delve into all sides of these issues.  Let's bat them about up and down, back and forth.  Only with great discussion and attention and emotion and better understanding will solutions eventually come forward.

I don't know how we process these events.  I don't know how we will embody them and make the changes in this country that need to be made.  But, what is for sure, is that  if we continue to move on with our days, our weeks, and months, without change...we'll be watching these scenes unfold again and again.

29 comments:

  1. Yes, so very sad. I think you've hit on a great point about mental illness not being diagnosed.
    Or if it is diagnosed, those involved are not being proactive enough to get into the prevention of these crimes. They can't ignore the signs and think it would never happen! We all need to be educated as to the signs and symptoms and not be afraid to be proactive and take action before somethings terrible happens. I think in this age of political correctness, people are even more afraid to question or express concern that something could be wrong and family members see it as a scarlet letter of sorts and choose to be in denial so much of the time. I hope we all become more vigilant to speak up and help others get help when necessary. It's all too obvious that mental illness is the common thread in all of these terrible mass murders.

    On a happier note....I'm so glad you had a great time with your friend. Your dessert looks amazing, as always! I know under the circumstances, you cherish the time with her even more!

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    1. The fear of actively helping out children who are in harms way is something that we just don't seem to handle well. I don't know if the services that these families need are not there or there is reluctance to use them. I can imagine it must be incredibly hard to cope with mental illness when it presents itself in an adorable little child.

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  2. A really touching post, even across the other side of the world we are all suffering shock, its unbelievable. My little girl starts kindergarten after christmas.

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    1. She will be A-o.k., Why? Because fortunately for you, you don't live in a country that fights tooth and nail to own deadly fire arms. It is so so sad that we are allowing this to happen in our country and not making changes faster.

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  3. It's truly a shocking event and must make one wonder about what allows this to happen again and again in your country. We have strict gun control laws here in New Zealand and such events simply never happen. But we also have had some issues with mentally ill people either being undiagnosed or let out of the corrective centres too soon and then committing a crime but it is just one person who then gets hurt or killed. And it's very rare. Not that it is very fair to compare countries because we have such a small population compared to the US.
    I too hope that something positive comes out of this but nothing will compensate those parents for their loss.

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    1. I truly don't understand it Suzanne. It is something that we are talking a lot about in our family. We are not sure where the change needs to happen. I can hardly imagine what these events must look like to those of your outside of the U.S. It must be horrifying to think that these situations lurk around the corners of our society.

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  4. Sarah another stellar post. I am so impressed with your skilled ability to craft such timely questions in such a personal manner,,,and still present such a beautiful dessert. I, as most Americans, have been in dumb founded shock that something this absolutely heinous could even happen here.

    The questions desperately need to be asked. Last night while my husband and I were out to dinner in Newport Beach we observed three helicopters stationary in the sky for hours. i knew it could not mean anything good. Our son texted us later to tell us there had been a shooting at our very upscale Fashion Island shopping mall. Some one had shot off 50 rounds.... luckily no one was hit.... but the panic and disbelief it has set off,... the wondering what next. The knowing it can happen any where.

    Thank you for writing such a poignant post Sarah. your facebook post was actually how I heard of the horrific event.

    I wish i had words ... for such an unspeakable act in Connecticut... they fail me....my heart breaks.

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    1. 50 rounds?? And...did this even make national news? How horrendous that some of these occurrences are becoming 'ordinary' news. I imagine the news story got lost in the overwhelming nature of the CT shooting.

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  5. Thank you for starting this conversation, Sarah. It takes courage to talk about these things but we must be brave. we must.

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    1. Oh Ann, I could go so much deeper but understand that diplomacy and patience are necessary as opposed to ranting and finger pointing.

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  6. There just are no words, and fewer answers. I just have to continue to believe that most people are good people.

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    1. Me too. What else can we do but continue to believe that people are genuinely good people.

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  7. I have been so very angry about this that I have tried not to comment about it. My heart breaks for these parents and for all those little angels. I have never understood why, in the face of tragedies like this one, Americans continue to insist on the right to bear arms. It is inexplicable to me.

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    1. I can only imagine what all of this horror looks like to those of you in far flung parts of the world from the U.S. We are asking ourselves the same questions. The arguments for 'pro gun' ownership is so embedded in our Constitution and in certain factions of our culture that it will an uphill climb I'm afraid to make the changes that are necessary. Soul searching needs to be done in this country...that is for certain.

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  8. Can anyone explain to me WHY people need to have these horrific weapons - these are not shotguns - these are military weapons that no civilian should have. The results are too ghastly.

    The parfaits are beautiful, the photos are soft, gentle and gorgeous.
    Mary x

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    1. It is incredible Mary. When we see the type of weapon that was used, it just befuddles the mind. Even if the mother enjoyed going to a shooting range and practicing...is that the kind of gun that is used for that sort of hobby? I just don't know. If there was mental illness acknowledged within their family, then why were they engaged in shooting practice as a hobby? So many questions for our country to answer on a much higher level.

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  9. You've put so many of my (and all of our) questions and sentiments into beautiful words. I have none to add. Why? Why? Why?

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    1. I have no doubt, Marcie, that you will have a short passage of beautiful words that will go straight to the hearts and minds of so many of us who love to journey to your sight for contemplation, joy, and beauty.

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  10. I was so very very thankful to hear that our friends in Newtown are safe, but at the same time somewhat disturbed that my thoughts jumped first to being glad of someone's safety, rather than remaining heartbroken by this tragedy. We do what we have to do to compartmentalize, I suppose.

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    1. Compartmentalize is a really good word to describe how we as a country are dealing with our issues. We do seem to be compartmentalizing our issues and then just simply looking the other way...

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  11. Hello Sarah,
    I have been so upset and angry at the gun culture in the US. I was torn to pieces when I heard that kids between 5-6 years were shot dead. It's hard even imagine the life long sorrow of the parents. I hope something will be done to stop this.

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    1. I'm not sure how much we as Americans are realizing how much this is a difference between our culture and other cultures around the world. It is amazing and embarrassing to realize how the world views us. Hopefully some of these feelings will lead to change.

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  12. You've written such an eloquent, thoughtful post here Sarah. I agree that we, as a nation, must talk about this. Thank you for encouraging conversation. It's heartbreaking to think of how those children will never experience all the little moments (like eating parfait with an old friend) that we take for granted every day.

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  13. I don't think we can get over the friday incident ever. It still hurst so much and even though I am not a mommy, I can feel it! You expressed it so beautifully Sarah and I hope you have a good holiday season. It will be tough this year but we all have to move on I guess!

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  14. Oh, these pictures made me smile. They are so very beautiful. I've been missing my blog-hopping habit and I wanted to stop by and say, "Hello, friend. Merry Christmas."

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  15. It's completely nonsensical :( I think that's why food can be such a binding force. It's uncomplicated and would never do such a thing :/

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  16. Why indeed. Merry Christmas my friend. XOGREG

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  17. Sarah, such eloquent thoughts on what happened...our hearts will never be the same in this country, nor around the world with happening of this tragedy. May good somehow come out of it though as these little ones and their brave teachers rest in God's hands.
    Much love...and Chistmas Blessings,
    xo J~

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How wonderful to hear from new friends...