I suppose many people have waited for me to write this story. Except it isn’t a story—it’s a piece of my life. My December. And it’s not only mine. It belongs to a mother, a brother, nephews, a church family, to friends, to students, and a church family. I’ve kept it mine alone because I’m private, yes, but also to protect their grief and their healing. I understand we all heal at different paces, and I’ve been stuck in anger, and never once felt denial. Because I was there. I still refuse to reveal details, so if that’s what you’re looking for, it simply isn’t here. If he wanted details revealed, that would’ve happened. He was the absolute best writer I’ve known.
This is my time to be selfish. I’ll leave the others alone.
I still hold my breath when I see the lights hanging down the buildings down Automobile Alley. I wonder how anyone can not know east from west, because that’s how the ambulance got there a little bit faster. I no longer jump when a car backfires. I have only smelled gunpowder once since a December several years ago and I can’t comprehend how it’s perfume to some. I don’t judge you for that, and I hope for the same consideration.
I respect and uphold the Constitution, including the Second Amendment. But if we can’t have a reasonable conversation about guns and safety and America, should you own one? A man I respect as much as anyone else owns an AK. I don’t. I’ve never even shot a BB gun. I don’t because I know I could shoot a person trying to harm someone I love, including Thunder Dogg. Including me.
I don’t own one because I watched a man die by gunshot wound as I begged for him to hold on for just a few more minutes, and I wish that horror on no one. Those images never leave.
So as the world hears Joy to the World and Jingle Bells and O Holy Night, please look around to see those holding back tears. We can’t all fake it for a whole two months. Sometimes we need to be held and to simply hear What Child Is This.
Because it’s us.