The story has been all over the news this week and it has put fear into us all. (See story at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009511055_webstabfolo21m.html). It's been hot in Seattle, but we are reminded by news journalists to keep our doors and windows closed and locked. You tend to look at strangers more closely, wondering if they are "good" or "bad". I lay awake at night wondering what I would do if an intruder came to my home. How would I defend myself? What weapon would I use? What would be my escape route? Where would I run to? Or would I be able to defend myself? What if I didn't? What if I just curled up and let whatever happen happen?? These are the hardest questions to answer because you just don't know what you would do in that situation - unless you have been through that situation. You hope and pray that you never have to experience something like that.
I think the worst part for the survivor would be that it was a "random act of violence", with no real explanation, no real motive. How will she re-cover from that unfairness? How will she get over the fear of being brutally attacked in her home while sleeping? How do you feel safe again?? How will she adjust to living a normal life without sad memories constantly flooding her thoughts? How will she learn to accept, forgive and show mercy to the person who stole her best friend and life partner from her? Do you forgive the person who ruined your life?? I don't know if I could. Depending on the circumstance or crime, I wonder to what length could I forgive? Forget?? I know I would want justice for any crime committed against me - but maybe I'd want revenge too? What level of "payback" is appropriate? It's so hard to know how you would react in certain situations. The news last night said they have arrested the suspect so hopefully this will be the start of the healing process for her friends and family? (See story at http://www.fox2now.com/ktvi-seattle-stabbing-stlouis-woman-072309,0,3056246.story).
Coincidentally, I just read "The Shack" by William P. Young for my book club and it really touches on all these internal head/heart questions. The main character suffers a random act of violence and the book touches on his years of emotional suffering because of it. Guilt, sadness, loss of life joys. Then he goes back to the scene of the tragedy and gets an opportunity to talk to God and work through his sadness, bitterness and loss of spirituality. It's an amazing story of relationships, spiritual education and openness (without regard for any one particular religion or sect). In the end he comes to a place of understanding and forgiveness for the perpetrator, which then leads to finding actual closure on the tragedy. After reading this book you can't help but have a new (or re-newed) opinion of spirituality but getting to that point means really questioning yourself. I'll certainly be questioning myself, my thoughts, my actions, my life... more in the future. Hopefully it can help me achieve the never-ending struggle to be a better person?
Later in the week I received more bad news. My Dad was rushed to the VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital emergency room on Thursday. They couldn't do a Cat Scan there because their machine broke (huh?), so he was transferred to Swedish around 2AM. After initial testing, it turns out that he passed a blood clot from his heart to his brain and he suffered a small stroke. This is in the aftermath of last weeks hernia surgery where he was advised to go off his blood thinning medication (Coumadin). Going off the blood thinners probably triggered the clot and hopefully going back onto the medication should prevent future issues. The bleeding in his brain has stopped but his vision is affected. He could read the card I got him but it was very difficult as he is seeing bright flashes of light and spinning (yet blurry) colors in the peripheral. If you know my Dad, he actually likes shiny, trippy color bursts so this could make him very happy?? His favorite color is MYLAR for crying out loud! I am obviously kidding though, because not being able to read, watch TV, or drive would seriously hinder his lifestyle so we are hoping the blurry vision is not permanent. We have to wait and see. Last night he was transferred back to the VA and is expected to be released today. He'll need to come back this week for follow up on his hernia surgery as well as get the MRI and EKG that he was supposed to get at Swedish? Why this was not done yesterday, I am not sure. But he seems to be in good spirits, says he feels fine and has remained surprisingly calm during the whole episode (and if you know my dad, patience and calmness are NOT adjectives that normally describe him!)
Sorry today's post has been kind of morose. It's been one of those weeks. Hopefully it turns around today. I am going to meet some friends for the Ballard Seafood fest so should be a good time!