I’ve been trying to ignore the tug in my gut that has persisted since I first read about this story yesterday. It was the stark inhumanity of it for sure; the sheer violence; the unchecked toxic masculinity; the questions about how is it that the ability to find a jersey is easier than locating a publicly; pinging-off-cell-phone-towers murderer.
But there was a personal attachment too. The point-blank, purposeful attack. Men who looked like men I know. Did things I recognize. Spoke with familiar inflection. My dad.
Look, I have a hard time accepting my dad as “elderly;” he’s almost 73 and looks and acts none of what the number suggests. Except when his hip nags. When my nieces and nephews call him, as I called his dad, Pop-Pop. Or the way his hair seemed to go white from one month’s visit to the next.
My dad works still, as a truck driver no less, and tries to share his wages whenever he can find a loophole–dinner or lunch; a gas card; Easter baskets–yes, I still get those. My dad.
Provider for 5 girls (ironically we call one Debbie like Mr. Godwin’s daughter). And he taught us–no teaches us to–in Debbie Godwin’s words–“fend for ourselves.” May be part of why marriage has not come easy to 3 of the 5 of us. My dad.
Their dad. Their grandfather. Uncle. Mr. Sco–no, Mr. Godwin from the nieghborhod. Walking his neighborhood. My dad does that. Minding his business. My dad does that. Living in the fullness of a life he built. My dad is doing th–. The tug in my gut comes again.
There need be no such requirements for empathy; I have rarely had those walls. And truthfully, that open space can be hell. ENJF. But today, the space seems so open that it’s a drawstring to my lungs. Flailing without sight of rock or shore. It’s almost impossible not to be centered in this kind of grief, but I grieve for how much the family has lost having to share their pain with this open space called media. If you’ve ever been underwater or skydiving–those open spaces are some of the quietest spaces ever. I hope his family finds that quiet in all of this.