Her Son

My stomach is full.  Disgustingly full.  Like, I can barely breathe because I ate too much of our practice Thanksgiving dinner.  There is too much noise right now.  Little girl giggles and football whistles.  The fire in the fireplace is popping.  Boo-boos need to be kissed and aggravation over dropped cable and forgotten grocery store list items has permeated the air of our house all weekend.  There is a little emerging reader snuggled on my lap trying to read over my shoulder.  Sounding out the words, one letter sound at a time.  

Life continues.

Thousands of miles away, there is a mother mourning the loss of the life she had just a few moments before.  As I started my weekend, she started a new life.  One without.  One after. One in the meantime.

I don’t know the evil she’s witnessed.  Lived.  I don’t understand the pain she feels.  I am without words that could offer comfort.  Because I’m sure that there really isn’t anything that could comfort a grieving mother whose child was lost to her by the hand of an enemy claiming to be the hand of God.   I don’t think there is enough retribution or redemption or revenge that can fill the immense void that has been carved into her soul.  Airstrikes certainly don’t seem to be enough.  There are no treaties or conferences or words that will rebuild what someone else demolished.  What someone took from her.

There is no answer to the why.  Why?

I don’t know why.  Why we live in a world where fear and hate permeate the historic streets of a city known for love?  I don’t know why we live in a world where violence solves problems, makes statements, finishes the job before reason and thoughtfulness and progress.  I don’t know why we live in a world divided by manmade truths instead of uniting together for the sake of humanity.  I don’t know why we live in a world that chooses to broadcast the tragedy of one nation and ignore the devastations of others.  Why? seems rhetorical - the answer, obvious:  there is no answer.

But I do know that a mother grieves.  

She grieves for the son that felt it necessary to strap a bomb on his chest and walk into a crowded building.  She grieves for a son who held hundreds hostage and executed them in the name of Allah.  God.  Religion.  A belief so foreign to her, beyond his raising.  Not at all what she taught him.  She grieves for the darkness that latched onto his soul.  That changed him.  Brainwashing and twisting and transforming him into a murderer.  His cause unjust.  Unworthy.  Unworthy of him.  His raising.  His parents.  He defiled the religion she loves.  The one that teaches peace.  And tolerance.  The one she taught him.  The one she believes in.

And yet, he is still her son.

And while my life goes on, hers is frozen.  Forever.  For she is the only one that will know the way his voice sounded as he formed those letters in his mouth to read those first words.  No one will know the sincerity of his prayers, the sweetness of his smile, the fierceness of his love.  He was taken from her and trained against everything she stands for.  And now, she is just a nameless face, collateral damage, in this war that we’ve been fighting for thousands of years.  

This war over rightness.

Not righteousness.  Rightness.

Because, if we are honest, everyone is thinking:  We are right.  They are wrong.

And in the meantime, concerts get held hostage, cafes get blown up, planes get shot out of the sky.  We wrap ourselves in fear, hate and violence and stay hidden underneath the sheets.  Surrender is not an option.

Nothing is going to stop the crazy.  Not open dialogue.  Not military escalation.  Nothing.  

And our lives, in a few days, will go on.  We will eat Thanksgiving dinner and watch football and stand in lines to get a “good deal” and spend and bake and carol and give in excess.

We will forget.

Until the next time.  Or the next.  Or the next.

We, as a collective caring, thinking, people must decide to make a change.  To not let fear win.  Because their victory is in our fear.  We can not fear an entire religion because of the actions of a few {seriously, that’s like saying you hate all dogs because you were bit by one one time}.  We cannot fear to live.

Hate thrives in our fear.

We must pray.  For the victims.  For the shooters.But my prayers are going to be for the mothers.  Of the victims and the shooters.


Because no matter what, he will always be her son.