More Garlic Festival Fallout

Yesterday, I hit a wall.

I literally couldn’t stop thinking about how close I came to being in an active shooter situation.

I was fuzzy.

Unfocused.

As news of the victims came out along with information on the shooter, I struggled to keep productive at work.

Images of people running for their lives filled my head.

Then a familiar face on the TV screen – a friend.

He was onstage performing with his band when the shooting started.

He had to take cover under the stage.

OMG.

Had I known his band was playing, would I have stayed to see him perform?

Would I have been there for the bullets during the encore?

Thoughts of how close I came to being yards away from an active shooter filled my head.

It was all I could do to make it through my day.

I searched for something benign to think about.

Star Trek costumes.

Comic Con costumes.

I’m going to Comic Con next month and so maybe helping to plan a costume might help.

Hint:  It didn’t.

Finally, I broke down and called the new guy.

He updated me on his family.

The shooter was a local teenager.

The new guy’s family is also local.

His kids knew the shooter.

It was like a bomb went off.

All the threads leading up to the shooting – dating a Gilroy local, being a festival goer who escaped the tragedy yet somehow being inextricably affected by it – started to tangle around me and I’ve got to say, I am struggling to process what happened.

Please send hugs and peaceful vibes my way.

I know there’s no short cut to heal from this kind of tragedy.

But I could really use a nice warm snuggle to make me feel safe and secure.

It’s been a rough two days.

Upset

Bear with me because I feel a rant coming on.

I’ve been a Pinterest member for ages now.

Since back when you had to APPLY to be a member.

It’s been a great way to organize the things I come across on the internet.

And I’ve used it a great deal for collecting Burning Man ideas – on fashion, survival, food, art, photography, etc.

I have loved Pinterest like a beauty addict loves Sephora.

But then I went and did something.

I clicked on an animal rescue story.

Just once.

And now my feed is FILLED with animal rescue stories.

Each one showing a pitiful little creature near death.

I am compelled to click on each one to make sure that the cat or dog is now happy and healthy with a loving family and a warm home.

Every time I am in tears.

Seriously, who cuts off an animal’s feet?

Or chains a pregnant dog in a forest to die?

I don’t know what to do to get rid of all these sad stories.

And maybe it’s saying something about me that I need to look the other way.

But I can’t handle the suffering.

And now my stream is filled with these stories.

Help!

Mark


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A few days ago, a friend of mine ended his life and his suffering by committing suicide.

He was a gentle man, with unrelenting wit and sarcasm and a clever mind.  He loved quoting Heinlein and was always up for new adventures, like when he took me to the Great Bull Run.

We talked about suicide.  Me, because I had slipped into a deep depression after I lost a son to cancer.  Him, because he lost a girlfriend to suicide.  He told me that if he were a book, he’d be “Time Enough for Love” by Heinlein, which is the story of the oldest living man who has decided he wants to commit suicide and is entertaining his audience with stories from his past.

When we discussed me being suicidal, I told him it was very passive.  That I just wanted my heart to stop beating.  I told him I didn’t want to live.  And Mark, having perhaps explored this area better than I, remarked that there was a difference between wanting to die and not wanting to live.

I blogged about Mark frequently, under a pseudonym.  He was my muse.  I had a thing for him, which I let go of but still felt a little tickle of something when I thought of him.  He and I swapped video messages and I have a collection of him talking to me that I can’t bear to look at right now, but that I will someday cherish.

When I think of how he suffered, I can only imagine the depth of his pain which led him to take his own life.

He will be missed by many and until the end of our days.

Life is precious.