I am a news junkie. Online I subscribe to the NY Times, LA Times, and the Economist. I have four other news sites (besides Yahoo and such) bookmarked on my computer and phone. My facebook and twitter feeds are clogged with posts from Al Jazeera and the like. Not more than a class length goes by without my at least checking the headlines.
But this last weekend I stopped paying attention to the news, as much as I could (had to keep up on the Egyptian constitutional referendum, at least), because I knew I could not handle it. I knew what was there, the pain of children, of parents, of a community, or a nation. And I knew if I delved in just a little bit I would break down. I did not want to face the grief. Whenever I even glanced upon anything about it, I would start to tear up.
But sometimes a good cry is what is needed, and tonight I finally faced it head on. I watched interviews with locals and witnesses, I read articles about the teachers, I looked at pictures of the children, and I just let go. Before I was halfway through the first video, I was crying, my nose running as much as my eyes were tearing. But I didn’t stop. I had to continue, out of respect for those suffering, as if I could somehow lighten their load. As if by looking at the pictures of kids and saying their names out loud I could make them immortal. But I guess in reality I was indulging in a completely selfish act, I was embracing my own sadness and melancholia.
Now my eyes hurt and I have a headache. My body is drained and my brain is fried. Most of my tears are gone, for now, but Wednesday I will fly to see my daughter for the first time in a year, and I’m sure I’ll have more of them then.
Sometimes you just have to let yourself cry.