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"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Joshua Is Bleeding

 On a night when many celebrate love, he comes.  Into my dreams he slips.  I see him just as I am swinging a sledgehammer at a copy of the Liberty Bell in order to crack it.

He waits for me to clear the room, until it’s only the two of us.

He is love, the depth of which cannot be measured.  He is compassion, kindness, and hope, given freely and on an unimaginable scale.

He is bloody, this time.  Holes right through him.  He trembles and sobs, and goddess help me, I. Am. Enraged.

Please, he says.  Please help me.  It hurts.

Not the bullet holes.  He doesn’t even notice them, really, not physically. 

But his heart?  His heart is shattered.  

Please stop killing my children.

And I feel…murderous.  

So we breathe.

So we are still.

So we find the center.

So I hold him until he is mended in body, if not soul.  What else can I do?  For as long as more people are afraid of losing their guns than they are of these shootings;

As long as more people scream about how their right to bear arms is greater than another’s right to exist;

As long as anyone thinks that the solution to their problem is to use violence on others;

As long as hatred is armed and free to act as it pleases; 

As long as mental health care is un/under funded and mental health is a joke, an excuse to marginalize, and then used as an excuse for why someone should not be held accountable for the horror of their choices;

As long as all these reasons and more hold sway?

He will come to me in dreams, torn asunder and wretched, and I will find anger blooming in my heart even as I seek to make his heart whole.

My dear boy, I cannot make them stop.  Their fear is greater than my paltry love, greater even than yours, and they will not listen.

Poor Joshua.  This time…this time I can offer only my arms to hold him, a song to soothe him, and whatever peace he can find with me in this world apart from worlds.

Time after time his own children will wound themselves and each other using his name as an excuse.  Time after time he will visit me, in tatters, and I will pour heart and soul into him, as any mother would her child because that’s how I love him, the way he loves them.  Time after time I will give him a place of respite.  

Time after time, he will bleed.

He clings tonight, a desperate embrace.  We inhale, hold, exhale together, synchronized.  Slowly, he stops shaking, relaxes, falls asleep as I rock him gently.  

Eventually he rises.  There is no sweet smile, this time, only a look of brave determination as he slowly fades from this dreaming into the world.

I wake still hearing him whisper…

Please.  Please stop killing my children…