along with his two daughters. The shooter was his mother-in-law,
who also injured her daughter before turning the gun on herself.
This happened Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday afternoon, the day before the shootings,
I stopped by my house (where my sons live) and paused
for a moment to notice that the lawn had been freshly cut,
the edges meticulously trimmed. Made a note to get a check
in the mail to him.
The man -- Chouen Harm -- has been taking
care of my tiny strip of grass for seven years. I recall having
a conversation with my son where he said it probably wasn't worth
the $25 charge, but a friend pointed out that it provided
a measure of order and sanity in my struggle to keep up this house
which I would've unloaded a few years back if it hadn't been
for the economic downturn. Thursday night, before I'd heard
anything about this tragedy, I dreamed that Chouen had come
to the house where I lived as a child, and only mowed half the grass,
leaving expansive wild swathes in the half-acre yard.
I recall a sweetness about him, and always made a point
to thank him for his good work. He was reliable
and efficient, year after year.
I cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of grief
that the surviving wife/mother/daughter is experiencing,
or if she is able to feel anything but a staggering bewilderment
and numbness. I would suspect that a human consciousness
can only take in something like this in infinitesimal measures.
From today's Seattle Times:
Like thousands of her countrymen, Saroeun Phan fled Cambodia's genocide in the late 1970s, hiking through the jungle for days before reaching Thailand. "I don't think anybody can really appreciate the horror that was Cambodia," said Dr. Carey Jackson, medical director of the international clinic at Harborview Medical Center. Studies showed the average Cambodian refugee family experienced seven traumatic events — more than twice as many as other Southeast Asian refugees — including torture, rape, watching the torture or rape of a loved one, imprisonment and warfare, he said.
"They frequently don't talk about it," said Jackson, an internist. "There's nothing there they're particularly proud of, so they don't pass it on to their kids. They sublimate it; they push it down ...
All I can think of is the capacity for horror -- horror upon horror --
that exists on so many levels, everywhere, and our too-often