Almost two weeks has passed since the tragedy that took place in our community Co-op, and I hate to admit this, but I’ve grown accustomed to it. Grief continues to arrive in waves, but with the tide of the news receded, it no longer floods my days.
It feels good to be relieved of the burden of shock, but is that truly a good thing? Is surrendering to murder akin to accepting it, to tolerating it, to allowing it to become a norm?
I know that I cannot go through my days somber and distraught, but how can I shop in my grocery store without feeling the bloodshed spilled there? Won’t I be dishonoring the man whose life was stolen when I talk to friends in the aisles as if it never happened?
I’ve only been back to the Co-op once since the shooting, and since I’m going out of town again this week, I can put off returning until September.
Is that a good thing?
Will I ever feel the same about my Co-op? Do I want to?
How do I reconcile feeling better when Michael Martin’s family grieves forever?
It’s not just the Co-op that’s tainted from this murder. My own community of Marlboro is too. Last night I stood under the stars with friends at an annual summer party, but I couldn’t get our neighbor, Richard Gagnon, out of my head.
When I pulled into the pond this morning for brunch, I cringed at the thought of the tennis courts where Richard played with his wife; and later that afternoon, I cringed again, when I thought I saw him walking across the beach with two friends.
Am I afraid of Richard? Of someone like Richard? Or am I simply traumatized by the fact that someone among us carried out such an act? That someone else could?
For the first time ever, murder is a topic at our family dinner table. “Are you talking about Richard?” My eleven year old asks. “No,” I reply. “We’re talking about the other murder.”
The other murder.
How is that phrase spoken in our home? That we can talk about it at all feels good, because until now it hurt too much to admit that it had crept into our world.
Maybe that is why we all walk down the aisles of the grocery store, or gather at the pond, or under the stars without saying much about the crushing loss we must accept if we are to endure.
Kelly Salasin, August 21, 2011