It's been hard not to focus on the news out of the US this past week, primarily on Superstorm Sandy and its devastation, but also the news of the last-minute stages of the election, and something else that happened in New York City a few days before Sandy wreaked havoc there for many.
Sandy's aftermath will have no doubt bumped the story deeper into the back pages, but for me this story has been something of a minor obsession. It's the horrible tragedy of the nanny who allegedly murdered two young children in her care before attempting to take her own life. I read about it on someone's Facebook page and since then, I can't seem to get it out of my mind. Perhaps it's the age of the little boy and imagining all the joy he was bringing to the family every day, or the 6-year-old girl who was no doubt a loving older sister to her younger brother and sister, and the fact that they were just so beautiful and happy looking, with so much more living to do. Maybe it's trying to understand what in the world would possess someone to bring such harm to such innocents, and constantly struggling with the fact that nobody saw - or did anything about - the signs that the nanny would snap with such horrifying consequences. It could be that it's more compelling to me because the mother kept a blog about the lives of the kids, and if there's one thing I can say about blogging as a mother, it's that it requires commitment but brings joy. The mother in this case - the father, as well, and the surviving 3-year-old sister, and grandparents - they do not deserve the pain that they must be going through. It's just so so awful.
In many ways, it's a story I wish I'd never heard about, and without the Internet, I might not have. In that sense there's a subplot about the spread of news and how we are going to be faced with more and more stories of things that are really not very close to home, but somehow become just that through a social media that is nonstop and pervasive in our lives. It also exposed the sad side of free commentary, with online news stories showing posts and comments by people who were so quick to judge: about the choice of using a nanny, on the social class of the family, on immigration to the US, and so many other things that to me did not seem relevant. What was relevant to me was that an unspeakable and horrible tragedy had taken the lives of two children, and effectively ended the life of their murderer. Whether the family has money or not is completely beside the point: they have lost two of their most precious assets, and they can't be replaced. And nobody should have to go through a pain like that - I just wonder how they will recover? I read one editorial about the idea of "trust", and when we do it (all the time, really), and how this case has shaken so many people who entrust their children to the care of others. But for many people, what choices do we have?
I only hope that somehow, some day, the family will find peace and will be able to overcome what is no doubt the most heartbreaking, unbelievable, and darkest situation they have ever been faced with. In the past week I've hugged Blake and Noah so much more than usual, and been much more patient and in-the-moment with them. Every day is such a gift, and they're going to be grown up so quickly, so for now I just want to hold them tightly and make sure they know I love them. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered such an immense loss.