An update soon followed. The soul in question was a 3-month old baby, the granddaughter of a couple who are relatively new members of our church, the grandfather happening to be the new bassist in my band. With no further detail on which to go, we all assumed the baby died of natural causes, SIDS, or something like that. She *seemed* perfectly healthy in church last Saturday. She was always in church with her grandparents, along with the 6-year old granddaughter who I assumed was her elder sibling, but now in hindsight, I'm not sure where her lineage fits in. The bassist and his wife are warm, friendly, hyper-faithful people who praised along with us with exuberance and enthusiasm. The church and the band, specifically, welcomed them with open arms.
I worked all afternoon, with limited internet time and access, only to come home to find two very disturbing things on my computer.
One was a character assassination on my blog (in comment form) from the friend I pissed off by virtue of my last blog, that I had to sit and figure out how to delete from the post. She's blocked me from her Facebook, blocked me from Twitter and no doubt has blocked me from her cell phone, not that I have remote interest in contacting her at the present moment in the first place. Did I praise myself for being honest and revel in being praised for my honesty in my last blog? Yes, because it's true. I also, if memory serves, noted that my honesty leaves me vulnerable to a shitstorm of attack and indignation, but that I felt strong enough to weather the ramifications. She accused me of being manic and self-absorbed.
Who's personal blog isn't self-absorbed? If a blog is about you and your life, suffice it to say it's going to come across as self-absorbed. This individual can't seem to fathom why or how she alienates friends and lovers, given her knee-jerk immature behavior of eradicating people from her life at the slightest stench of conflict. She can't understand why I chose the medium of my blog to claim that she loves me with condition instead of speaking to her personally about how I felt. She claims that I view those who love me unconditionally as those folks who only tell me what I want to hear, when nothing could be further from the truth. I appreciate the friends who call me out on my bullshit but don't immediately decide not to be my friend anymore with no just cause. The friends who love me unconditionally are those who point out my flaws but, as I said, LOVE ME ANYWAY, not eject me from their lives in what is honestly, a manic manner. Those who love me unconditionally work WITH me to help me improve myself and my behavior, not chastise me relentlessly and lay claim to a shit load of assumptions. Armed with the truth, though sometimes painful, is indeed how I choose to approach my life.
But right now, I just need a break from her bullshit.
In my Gmail last night, there was an urgent update from the prayer chain at church. When I walked in the door, my mom whispered to me that the baby who died had been abused to death.
The prayer chain said the following:
"Most of you have no doubt heard that police and DCFS are investigating the death of *** as a homicide. Keep in mind that the *** family is going through a terrible tragedy and, more than ever, they need our prayerful and loving support. Instead of discussing it with one another--which can only spread rumor, gossip, or speculation about this matter--please pray together for God's comfort and strength for the *** family and for wisdom and compassion for the investigating officers.
Please continue to respect the *** family's privacy during this difficult time."
Please continue to respect the *** family's privacy during this difficult time."
Worse yet, it was all over the local news. I texted my guitarist who'd just read the email himself, and who is a Chicago Police officer, hoping he had an inside view of what the situation really was. The police are holding the parents of the baby in custody, questioning the 23-year old father and 19-year old mother, though no formal charges have been filed to date. The autopsy on the baby revealed multiple acute rib fractures, 2 older rib fractures that were healing, blunt head trauma and brain bleeding, retinal bleeding, just to name some of the shocking findings. The parents took the baby to the hospital on Tuesday after finding her in distress, where she passed away the next day.
Here's what I don't get--the grandparents, my bassist included, LIVED with the parents of this baby. How could all of this trauma and abuse go undetected during the course of her short life? Surely the child was in distress more often than just the day she was finally taken to the hospital. What sickens me even more is the notion, though far-fetched as it probably is, that somehow my bassist or his wife were involved. I don't know the guy terribly well, only having played with him for a couple of months, but his family seemed, on the surface, to be the bastions of the faithful, the kind, the gracious. I highly doubt he was involved, and pray the abuse went undetected because the accused were really good at covering it up, or the baby was strong enough to withstand it for a while at least...I just don't know. (UPDATE: 7:55 PM THURSDAY NIGHT: THE FATHER OF THE BABY WAS CHARGED w/1ST DEGREE MURDER. My bassist's son.)
I can only pray that justice is served, that whomever is responsible for this tragedy gets his/her due, and that the Lord watches and protects the innocent. What makes people think that parenting gives them license to beat the crap out of their offspring is unthinkable to me. The evil that would compel someone to hurt a little baby rocks my very faith in God.
The whole church watched, just 3 weeks ago, this baby being baptized into God's family, the whole family, parents included, in the sanctuary. We welcomed her into God's kingdom and into our church family. Now she's in God's kingdom for eternity, which didn't have to happen, but I have to believe there's a greater purpose to God's plan than is obvious to us at the present moment.
It didn't help that I'd had a particularly difficult night with my own son, who's having relatively typical pre-teen issues and insecurities that cause him a stream of conflicting emotions and behaviors. But all I wanted to do last night was take him in my arms, hold him tightly, and appreciate how much I adore him. My child. My flesh and blood. Nevermind that last night he was acting like a poopyhead; he was alive and well and thriving and I wanted him to know that he is safe and going to be okay.
This weekend, there's no band and no Luke to be found. I have made no plans with friends, other than to talk extensively with Kate in New York and to keep Steven posted on what's happening with the abuse case. TOC's headed to Boston to see his youngest, who just went off to college, and encouraged me to fill my time wisely, without getting into my mom's hair for the next 3 days. I have therapy, a meeting with my Stephen minister and a new project from Luke to occupy my time.
Luke's composed a whole new alphabet--"walrus vocabulary," he calls it. Symbols that represent English letters, all that he made up in code. He wrote a paragraph in this code that he wants me to translate on a separate sheet of paper, using the code sheet he provided for me. He then wrote a paragraph in English that I have to translate into walrus vocabulary. I have the weekend to complete the project or else, I don't know, I'll suffer the wrath of my 11-year old. All in retaliation over an English-Writing project I bestowed upon him a couple of weeks ago that he has yet on which to embark. The code is pure genius and he spent an inordinate amount of time creating it, just like he does with every other project he undertakes. It'll be a challenge for me, as that's not how my brain works (it's tantamount to writing paragraphs in Chinese characters), but I'm happy to give it a shot.
Church is definitely in order this weekend. I need to be with my church family to help me make sense of the tragedy that unfolded this week, and to find some peace. I also have to read next week's Bible readings and pick out the songs the band will do next weekend. I've already decided on two but have three more to pick out. Wish me luck.
All in the meantime, I'll be on shit watch with regard to my nastygramming friend and discussing love, passion, destiny and Dostoyevsky!!! with Kate, while we chastise those who are jealous and sanctimonious.