I find myself at an utter loss. Several people have asked me how I am doing following Tuesday's events at Clackamas Town Center. I've told them that I am tired but okay. I suppose it's at least a half truth, as I have not stopped eating, bathing, getting out of bed each day.
I have my moments. In all honesty I'm already predisposed to anxiety and depression, something I used to try and keep to myself, but I take medication daily and generally, my over active imagination/worry mechanism causes no real interruption of my life. And it doesn't help that less than a month ago I was driving home from Sisters in the snow and had a rollover crash above Suttle Lake, or that I'll soon be sending my husband off on a deployment leaving me as the sole caregiver for our two boys.
I like to think of myself as strong, resilient, independent. I feel I have not seen any of those characteristics in myself these past few days. There is a part of me that feels I am not entitled to the emotions I am experiencing because really, I didn't see anything. My trauma was nothing compared to that of the hundreds of people taking a break from their holiday shopping in the food court.
So why do I feel as though there is a ton of bricks on my chest? Why does my heart seem as though it will tear itself in half? Why do I find my limbs heavy as sandbags, unable to do my bidding?
Something was taken from every person present in that mall at the time of the shooting. There are the obvious things, like the lives of the two people who perished at the shooter's hand and the loss of revenue for the businesses that have remained closed for the past few days. But the loss reaches beyond the walls of that building, beyond the thousands of people who hid out until the all clear was given.
I know that I am unable to analyze the full impact on my life but I do know that right now I'm not able to be the mother or wife I need to be. Tonight, Ethan came upstairs at 7:00 to ask when we would have dinner. We tend to eat dinner later than most people but not that late. I'd honestly not even thought about dinner or realized what time it was. I told him I would figure something out. About fifteen minutes later I finally peeled myself off the couch and walked into the kitchen. I opened the cupboards, fridge and freezer in turn and then just leaned against the refrigerator and started crying. I couldn't figure out what to make for dinner and I just felt so helpless. Such a seemingly simple task and yet I just felt so exhausted by the mere thought of it.
One thing that has been taken from me, at least temporarily, is my ability to focus, to function as I normally would. If there was a magic pill I could take to turn my brain off or make me sleep long enough to forget what has happened I'd probably take it. It seems unfair to me that while myself, my family and countless others suffer as a result of all of this, Jacob Roberts is FREE. I alternate between intense anger and sympathy for this child; really, that's all he was. I see his actions as immature, his suicide as cowardice, and I wonder what could have awakened this hunger for violence in him. Maybe no one will ever know.
Even as I type, I swallow back tears around a bitter lump in my throat and will myself not to vomit. I feel like crying but I'm not exactly sure why. In a way I feel guilty for having such emotion, as though I've been given a badge I didn't earn. But what should my response be? As much as I'd like to brush this off and go on with my life I simply can't so I put on a brave face and put one foot in front of the other.