Deborah DiSesa Hirsch News events stir darkest thoughts

November 14, 2018

This one hit too close to home.

Eleven dead, not including the deputy, who rushed in to stop the shooter. This time, a Southern California bar that featured Country Western music on Wednesdays, “College Night,” the night of the week college students converged to line dance and have a good time.

Maybe it’s hitting so hard because I’ve spent the last couple of months filling out financial aid forms, going on campus tours, and watching my son fill out college applications for next year. Even though he doesn’t like much to drink, or certainly, Country music, it could have been him.

The kids loved this night. Even the 18-year-olds could come. They’d get a black X on their hands to show they couldn’t drink, and then dance or play pool, no one thinking for a minute the night would end like this.

But I guess that’s the point. No one knows. Just as we send our kids off to school — or the movie theater or the church or synagogue — whoever believes that they won’t come home?

My kid is going off to college in less than a year. Will I be one of those parents racing to the scene, praying it’s because he dropped his cell phone in the rush to get out and that’s why I haven’t heard from him? I remember a recent night he was unreachable, out driving after curfew and how panicked I felt. What on earth do you do when something like this happens?

When I was in high school, the thing parents feared most was being called to the principal’s office because you were smoking in the bathroom.

So, here’s Jason. His bone-white face gives away who he is. He hasn’t been able to reach his son and his friends said Cody didn’t get out. I wanted to reach through the TV and grab onto him. I cannot imagine what he is feeling. Could that be me a year from now?

Stuff like this reminds you that anything can happen when your kids are out of reach.

I’m being selfish. When Phillip was in elementary and middle school, and these things happened, I was, of course, horrified. I would think of the parents, feel sad and then try to decide whether to buy chicken or salmon for dinner.

Things are different now.

Cody Coffman did die. His dad said he was the kind of person who ran toward danger, not away. He could have been protecting the others. The world is less without him.

I don’t care if he doesn’t like it. Tonight I’m going to hug my son so hard it hurts.

Writer Deborah DiSesa Hirsch lives in Stamford. Her blog is hotmedfax2018.blogspot.com

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