May 18, 2007

The Day After

Note: read previous post first.

Last night, after I posted about Every 15 Minutes, I took my sons to their school's Open House & Talent Show. I talked with their teachers. They showed me their projects. Then we found a seat to watch the talent show taking place on the school's outdoor stage.

I began noticing strange emotions in me, but weren't sure what they were yet. Ethan, my oldest son, ran off to sit with friends. I looked at the crowd of parents and children, and listened to the young performers, some singing a capella, some with musical accompaniment, a few doing little more than lip-sycing to recorded tracks. And I began to cry.

Every 15 Minutes is very emotional. The crash scene itself was very hard to watch. I took a lot of pictures (one of which is below), mostly because focusing on picture-taking allowed me to be emotionally detached from what was going on. Then, for the next 24 hours, I led discussions about death. I listened as those involved in the crash scene described how they knew everyone was acting, but once the scene began, it became very real. The girl in the photo below, she's really crying. We listened to the one student who was rushed to the emergency room describe how, as he lay there pretending to be dead, he had to listen to his mom's real tears as the doctor pronounced him dead. Then later, we saw in the video the girl who was "arrested" for driving drunk sobbing her heart out in the back of the sheriff car.

That was on Wednesday. On Thursday, at the student assembly, the "dead" were reunited with their parents. They had written letters to each other (which I mentioned previously); some of those letters were read aloud. At the end of the assembly, it was my job to give a brief message of hope.

Too much was going on for me to really take it all in. But last night, sitting there at the talent show, with nothing else I had to be doing, it all caught up to me. I fought back the emotions. I didn't want everyone else to wonder why this parent was getting so emotional over yet another lip-synched song from "High School Musical." But when Tristan (he's 5) crawled into my lap to watch the rest of the show, I let him. And I held him.

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