I wish I hadn’t started my blog this week. A little girl was found murdered yesterday after a highly publicized amber alert in my province and, if I hadn’t started my blog, I wouldn’t feel compelled to write about it, but here we are.
I have a little boy of my own and, while murdered children broke my heart before I ever had any of my own, being a mother has made me a lot more sensitive to situations like this. As a mom, I’m faced with the “what-ifs” that plague parenthood. What if my child had been abducted? What if I was sitting at home, helpless, while police searched my neighbourhood for a body that I desperately hoped wouldn’t be there? What if I had to hear the details of the horrific death my child experienced alone?
At first I feel sick, but then the churning in my stomach reveals anger and a lot of hate. I don’t want to admit it, but I don’t know if I wouldn’t be able to control myself if someone killed my babies. I can think of all the violent books and movies and research I’ve done for school that I could use to hurt someone. And the angry, hateful part of me feels justified in these fantasies. I don’t want to be the mother that forgives the heartless person that kills her children. I want to be the one who exacts the worst kind of revenge.
Last night, I indulged those fantasies. I considered a book idea of a collection of letters from a jailed woman who had killed the murderer of her children. I thought about the hate and the anger and the despair that I expect would come from someone who lost their loved one to that kind of violence. This morning, I woke up exhausted. Hate like that burns the life out of the person who holds it. Anger and fear make that hate more attractive, but in the end, we pay for the hate that we manufacture. Today I paid a good night’s rest. Not much, but enough to make me realize that it’s not the answer.
This week I expect we will hear a lot about the man charged with the murder of that little girl and her father. We will see his picture everywhere. If he is a white man, the media will try to humanize him for us by using terms like “loner” and “suffered from mental illness” and giving us a back story. And I will have to force myself not to let the hate creep up at the media for trying to make the murderer not seem so bad and for stigmatizing mental illness, which many people suffer from and do not kill others. If I let myself read the comments on any article or Facebook share, I could get sucked into the hate towards this man with all the people that describe in detail what they would want to do with him.
It’s easy to get sucked into the hate for someone who does something as despicable as what has happened this week. And when I’m feeling this sickness in my gut, I can’t think of a reason not to succumb to it. I have to remind myself that I harm myself and my family if I stew in that rage. I have to remind myself that letting that anger take hold does nothing for the child that was lost or the family who mourns her. Nor does it do anything for my children who are here and safe.
How do you let go of anger and hate when a situation this horrifying is presented every time you look at social media? How do you step back and not let yourself get caught up in it all?