5am

Here we are Travellers,

5am, and I’m up and walking with the ladies. Ladies being my dogs. I took my phone just so I could document this momentous occasion. I remember when I was in Mexico last and every morning somehow my body woke up just as the sun was rising. I sat on the balcony of our room and watched each day completely mesmerized. Granted that was Cabo San Lucas, and it was on the ocean, so abit more of a scene chewer than Kansas. However, since that trip, especially in the past year I’ve become quite taken with the sunrise, the sunset and the moon.

It’s really miraculous no matter where you live. You don’t need an ocean to appreciate how spectacular these events are…I think we humans get so wrapped up in our drama that we forget how wondrous this world is in it’s very design. We take each day for granted believing there is always another one waiting in the wings.

I wasn’t born a morning person, I was actually born a night owl, and the whole love of the morning part of my personality evolved in the past few years. Somewhere along the line, gratitude seeped in and I now genuinely love the quiet of each day as it begins..

Now onto the unfortunate reason that I awoke so early, because I wish I could say I planned well, slept well and my 5am goal arrived just as I hoped it would, but it did not. I do want to note that I chose to get up this morning, to walk my dogs and greet this day because I’m working on having appropriate reactions to events in life. And you gotta try to outnumber the bad things with good things, am I right?

Yesterday the last few hours of my day at work were spent with a family member of a client, an unrelated client and the police. Yesterday I learned that one of our clients had posted on Facebook that she intended to kill me. The words, “I am going to kill Amy (insert my last name)” and then a separate post that read, “I am getting a weapon”.  According to her family member, this client’s case manager told her to take it down, so she had but not before other clients I work with had seen it. AND she has now posted other threats against my life and a colleagues life.

The first thing I thought when they told me was I don’t want to die. I thought of my family, friends and my four furry kids and who would take care of them. I thought of this life that I am starting to build on my own and not wanting to lose that. I thought what if she just hurt me instead in a way that I couldn’t walk anymore or God forbid was left incapacitated in a bed. I felt sad. Just sad. And scared. These are the thoughts that woke me at 5am.

This client has a severe and persistent mental illness. We work with the elderly, the physically disabled and mentally ill at my place of business. This is my first death threat in 10 years, and we have a zero tolerance policy for threats for staff, clients and guests. Threatening people is not acceptable no matter the circumstances. I wish the internet could enact such a policy.

I was talking to my friend last night about all of this and how our media and society treat mental illness. Every time there is a shooting there are two inflamed conversations that begin: guns control and was the suspect mentally ill. True story folks, most homicides are not committed by people who are mentally ill. I’m not sure why we won’t acknowledge that because it feels like we don’t. It seems we can’t admit that all humans can do bad things. Being mentally ill does not make you a bad person or a dangerous person. The other thing that always bothers me is that in all of the stories, there were warning signs and no one tried to help the person or people that committed the crime. There are warnings for a reason and I think our natural empathetic tendency should guide us away from fear and towards helping a fellow human who is suffering. No matter how hard that may be.

My brother from another mother’s wife was a student at Columbine when that shooting occurred. She knew them. And I have to say that those of us who have never experienced anything like that, like being hunted by someone you know, someone who’s going to harm you, I think we need to think about what really happens in these situations. We need to find the appropriate amount of drama versus what our media does. We need to find our way back to helping people who are in harms way versus ostracizing them.

And we need to start asking “WHY?” If the person/perpetrator is alive, if you are receiving threats, if behavior is occurring around you or by people you know, the Why conversation needs to happen..why are threatening me? Why do you think this is appropriate? Why is this a solution in your eyes? We need to have these conversations.

If I ever saw the man who molested me as a child again, the thing I’ve arrived at in my life, is I want ask Why? Why did you do that to me? Why did you not think about how it would affect my entire life? Why did you think that was appropriate? Why were you so reckless with my safety? But I can also tell you in that circumstance, there were warning signs, and my mother chose to ignore them.

I hope to take this day and the events as they unfold as an opportunity to help this person. I hope to behave not from a place of drama, fear or anger, but some kind of empathy. Because that is very hard to do with something like this. I wish these things never happened in our society, but mostly I just wish we could find a solution to prevent fellow humans from feeling they need to do these things.

P.S. So there is a movie for this, it’s called “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and I think it is the most profound and yes disturbing movie about a child who commits a violent act. Gilda Swindon was nominated for Best Actress and it’s the kind of movie you only need to see once because it will stay with you.

 

 

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