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Yesterday I was awoken by my husband's phone call.  He's been letting me sleep in these days, knowing that I am having problems sleeping at night. He was on his way to work and had heard over the radio about the shooting in Aurora, CO.

He was calling not only to inform me but to get me started in calling and emailing friends and family to see if they were safe.  For while we live in Massachusetts, we met and I grew up in Denver, CO.

Many of my family, my parents, cousins, sister and now our two oldest children live in the Denver Metro area.  Then there are our friends, including our tighter circle of friends who love sci-fi, read and collect comic books, and play games.  

I walked down the stairs shaking.  Then I turned on the tv and called my parents.  As it was I was informing them of the shooting! This was a good thing as it meant that no one in the family was hurt.  Our oldest children were safe.

After that was known, I called my husband and then settled in, for the vigil - the vigil we are still on - thinking "I can't believe we are doing this again."

This is my second, no third, vigil for family and friends due to a mass shooting.

While I was born in and grew up in Denver, CO, my parents are both from Kansas.  My mother is from a small town that sits halfway between Topeka and Wichita, Emporia.  My aunts, uncles, cousins, great cousins, etc. and many of my mother's childhood friends still reside there.

In 1988 on Sunday morning in March, a gunman entered the Calvary Baptist Church, in Emporia, KS, during the service and opened fire, killing one and injuring several. (March 6, 1988)

Some of my mother's friends were there, and her cousin was the minister of the church.

In Colorado we waited for word of who was okay, and who was injured and who was killed.

Then in 1992 we moved to Massachusetts, leaving behind family and friends.  My oldest children were 6 and 8.  The youngest hadn't been born yet.  In many aspects  it was hard thing to do.  I grew up far from both sides of my grandparents and always envied my cousins who were there.  

We tried to help with that by sending them to their grandparents for a month every summer (something I never got to do).  This had the added benefit of maintaining their friendships.  When they got older and we'd visit, the older kids would be off with their friends, leaving their younger sibs to fend for themselves at times (though they were often included too).

Then April 20 1999, Columbine, came.   One of my daughter's best friends, a young woman that I had babysat when she was little, attended Columbine.  We sat glued to the tv waiting for word that she was alright.

She was, having gotten out with the first group of students that took shelter in neighboring homes.

And now yesterday.  Halfway through the calling and emailing I gave up.  Unlike Emporia, unlike Columbine, there are just too many people we know who could have been there.  This is the geeky sub culture we belong too, the kind that gets irritated when someone mixes DC and Marvel villains and heroes.   The people who know that Batman never killed his villains but put them in jail/prison or an insane asylum.

And there is the frustration that accompanies the discovery that one friend's phone number didn't get transferred onto the new cell phone address book, for some reason.  And he lives in Aurora.

Not that that makes much difference.  What is considered too far go for dinner or a night's entertainment in the Northeast, has no bearing in the West.  Distance is thought of differently,  that's why we are waiting to hear from our friends - no matter where in the Denver Metro area they live.

It's too big of a list.

I decided to wait for a list of the dead and injured.  And even there hoping we won't miss a name that is the child of or sibling of our friends, so that we may offer what ever comfort and compassion we can at 2,000 miles away.

To make matters worse, I have the same feeling I had when my friend was killed in the Sioux City crash, I feel that know someone  on the list.

We walk around in a zombie like daze.

So we sit and wait and wonder, how many more times will we as a country go through this.  How many more lives will be ripped apart and how many will end this way.


Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 12:07 AM PT: Through out the day we have been contacted by or have contacted friends.  From several we heard that roll calls had gone out.

The friend who's phone number we had lost, I found his number.  Called almost immediately and as we spoke and assurances were given I heard what might be the sweetest words about aging I'll ever hear:

"I'm too old for midnight premiers, any more"
We went to see "The Dark Knight Rises" tonight. It was what we had planned to do all along.  Now it took on two meanings, a show of support for the movie theater industry (our theater was maybe a quarter full) and a giant FU to the shooter - may his name be uttered sparingly, if at all.

Originally posted to Clytemnestra on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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