Last Week Was Too Much

Too much for my city. Too much for mothers. 

It’s been national news, you probably already know about the young mother of two boys who was brutally slain in Memphis, TN. 

To say that the loss of Liza has had a profound impact on Memphis, is saying the very least. To say that it has hurt every mother I know to the core, is true. 

As if the collective grief and sunken-pit-of-stomach feeling wasn’t enough for one week, last Wednesday another mother was murdered, this time in front of her child. This time, the gunman was driving all over our city, shooting people and forcing everyone to shelter in place. 

That night I was teaching a childbirth class to three couples, three expectant mothers full of hope. When they left, my assistant and I were packing up when I received a text from one of them, telling us not to leave the building. We sat and waited until this deeply disturbed individual was caught by the police, both of us mothers who were yearning to be home with our children, not sitting in my darkened office eating raisins and doom scrolling social media for information on the killing spree taking place all around us. 

This week I have seen mothers buy guns, mothers take self defense training, mothers hold their babies a little bit tighter. I’ve felt myself panic, I’ve felt myself in anguish thinking about the children who have no mothers. How they must wake in the night crying for them. I’ve sobbed in my car imagining all manner of horrific things that could happen to my child in and out of my presence, could happen to me…

By Thursday morning, I decided I couldn’t be away from my daughter. I kept her home from school and told my client, a new mother, that I was not in good shape to care for her that day. She understood.

Instead, June and I enjoyed breakfast together, we got Halloween decorations down from the attic. We watched Hocus Pocus. 

When I drove her to school the next day, she saw a man standing on the side of the road. “He’s a bad guy,” she said. “Not everyone is a bad guy,” I told her. “But if you ever hear loud bangs while we are driving, I want you to put your head down. Can you promise me you will do that?” “Why, Mommy?” “Just promise me you will.” “Okay, Mommy.”

I want to take her away from all of this. I continue to implore my husband to let us move to the country, to home school. He’s not ready for this kind of life shift, citing the economy and housing market (ever the pragmatist). “You can’t protect her from everything,” he says. “But maybe you can,” I say. Maybe you can. 

Photo by Anderson Rian

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