Ok, so I guess the Universe is never really done kicking anyone in the pants. A few days ago I found out a dear former professor and idol passed away from cancer. I hadn't spoken with her in a couple of years but I still feel her loss keenly. Dr. Alanna Bondar was a my introduction to feminist and Canadian literature greats like Margaret Atwood, and I credit her with beginning me on my path to actual critical thinking of the media I used to blindly injest. She introduced me to post-modernist analyzation of works and the Old White Guys club of literature, and when I began university she was a powerful symbol to me of what a woman could do. I remember one night very early on she introduced herself as "Doctor Bondar" and we should remember the Dr. part because she had worked very hard for it and it meant something to her. She wasn't "Ms" or "Mrs", she was Doctor. Alanna was the heart of our university's annual creative writing publication and our poetry night. She travelled and wrote a book and had not a few articles published in various feminist and eco-feminist publications. I looked up to her and always thought she'd be out there somewhere in the world, drinking wine, having conversations that sparkled, wearing ridiculously colourful outfits and absolutely refusing to settle down and be anything but her most authentic self. Her memorial will be sometime in November and I plan to attend regardless of whatever else life has in store.
Rest in peace, dear teacher. Or don't; I imagine the after life is an even brighter and more interesting place now that you're there, and there are some who could use a good conversation.
Then we lost Robin Williams. This stings. Every time I think about how I'll never get the chance to meet him, to tell him how much I love (most) of his work, I get a bit teary. But the worst is how much Robin always reminded me of the best of my dad. For me this has been a tiny insight into how much it will hurt when someday my own father dies. I am rarely, if ever, affected by celebrity deaths as I have no actual connection to them. Sure, I might like their shows or movies or know a little bit about their personal lives, but more than "Aw, that's too bad" doesn't happen. This time, however, it's very different. Ever time I see a picture of him, grey blue eyes sparkling with mirth and irreverence, hairy arms and short, broad torso in mid gesture, I am strongly reminded of my dad at his absolute best, and it just hurts. Thankfully, my dad is still here so I have (I hope) lots of time to tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me, but in the meantime I'm just avoiding the media circus as best I can around Robin's death.
And finally, because bad things tend to happen in threes, a part of my son's innocence was stolen from him at knife-point at the park on Monday. He and a friend went to play and a pair of bigger kids from his school were already there and somehow, none of us grownups is sure, one of the bigger kids ended up threatening Gabe with a knife. Gabe knows him from school and as far as we can figure out he was telling his friend to avoid the two bigger kids because he'd had problems with the one before. Gabe and his friend ran home and we had the police here Tuesday morning to speak with Gabe and the friend and figure out who had done the threatening and then go talk to that kid and his parents. While things seem to be resolved for now I'm planning on calling the school to advise them of what happened so they can keep an eye on that kid, and on the bus too (He takes Gabe's bus too and from school every day).
I don't know if I can express how angry I am that this happened to my son, my baby boy, in a place that should have been safe for him. It was the park. The park! It was two streets over, less if you take the forest path. He was with a friend. This should not have happened but it did and I'm at a loss. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that he's alright; things could have gone much worse, especially if the knife weilder had tried to hurt his friend, but I know that after Monday he's different. He knows that there are people out there who will hurt him for real, for no other reason that they can. I don't want to think what might have happened if he had been alone. He didnt' tell us about it himself because he was afraid the big kid would find out and hurt him. We had to find out about this from Gabe's friend's parents, who live across the street. My son has the biggest heart. He is a good person. He is a sweet, funny, caring boy. This should not have happened.
So I'm sad. And I'm angry. I don't know what to do with it, as usual. So I'm writing. Thanks for reading.