I am starting to wind down the year, wrapping up client work and queuing up projects for 2013. I plan to take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s to close out my books, clean out files and tidy things up. And I will take some time to reflect on this year.

I have to say that I continue to be deeply affected and pained by the merciless slaughter of 20 children and their teachers in Newtown, CT. Like millions of others, I am dumbstruck by the violence that has besieged our country. I feel all the things you expect the bereaved to feel—anger, loss, a sense that most things in life are trivial.

In some ways, it’s essentially bubbled to the surface some of the undercurrent I’ve felt all year. And like the way I dealt with the personal challenges of this year, I have sprung to action—sending a message of support to Senator Dianne Feinstein in her effort to reinstate the ban on assault rifles. I have scoured the Internet for information on gun control organizations to which I can donate.

Unfortunately, I have also become somewhat obsessed, reading everything about the shooting, the killer and his mother, the investigation, the funerals, the victims. Frankly, it has taken its toll, just like the hours of research I’ve done this year on bladder cancer, chemotherapy, narcotic management of pain, etc., etc.

Today I was reading an article about the Congo and the atrocities being committed against women there. As the reporter said, the war is being fought with the bodies of women. At one point I found myself in despair. I asked myself “is there no limit to the pain, torture and anguish humans can inflict on each other?”

It was at the moment that I decided I need to STOP. Stop reading, listening to and watching the news. Not just Newtown news, but any  news. I have long turned my back on TV news except in the case of huge breaking news stories. I certainly don’t read or watch news at night before bed. But I realized I need some “radio silence” for a while, to unplug from the barrage of war, murder, disease, and greed. So from now through the end of the holidays, I’m going cold turkey on news consumption.

And I am going to focus on being present, being here.

Mom update

The last few months have been stable for mom. She has had an annoying pain on her side, managed by some narcotics to help her sleep through it. A CT scan showed that previous lesions on her liver had “resolved,” but there were some new tumors in her liver and near her spleen. The reality of chemotherapy being for the long haul is sinking in.

Despite the mixed bag, I am thankful…thankful that we’re still here, getting ready to celebrate Christmas together. That she has found tiny reserves of energy that have prompted short excursions of driving (on her own!) to an occasional doctor’s appointment or errand. She makes cookies. She has friends over for tea. She reads the books I upload to the Kindle. She has embroidered for me a small tablecloth with little clusters of grapes.

We don’t know what the new year will bring. So I am focusing on right now. That’s all any of us have, really.

1 thought on “Whac-a-mole”

  1. I feel a strong reaction to the news currently as well. In trolling the new sites, I found a reference to Mr. Rodgers recently where he indicated his approach to reading difficult news stories was to focus on the helpers. The people who were helping others. They are there. And if we focus on the helpers, it may give us hope for humanity, and give us an example of how to behave in our own lives.
    A friend of mine who is a school teacher in the midwest has begun a quest to do 29 random acts of kindness in the names of the people involved. I like thinking of her during the day and wondering what she came up with recently.

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