Our family, like many families, has been discussing the recent murders in Orlando and vigorously debating what could be or should be done to prevent such unimaginable tragedies. We talk about the particularly complicated nature of these events – xenophobia, homophobia, mental illness, public health and safety concerns, the inaction of our elected representatives, the anguish of the victims’ families, and more. And I am reminded of the zombie apocalypse.
This idea first emerged shortly after 9-11. Our children were much younger then, only 4 and 8, so we worked hard to shield them from much of the news coverage. My husband and I talked in hushed tones about what we’d do in the event of a widespread attack. Who would be closest to the children? Where could we go? Should we find each other first and then go? Or just determine a safe location to meet up later? How surreal it was to even discuss. Over time, the kids have joined the conversation about our plan, though we don’t refer to it directly. Instead, it has become, in our house, the “zombie apocalypse.” This allows us a bit of distance and some humor as we contemplate injustice and hatred in today’s world.
Our children are now young adults, 19 and 23. We’re enjoying a moment in time when both happen to be living at home. They are delightful people – funny, thoughtful, and fiercely passionate about their opinions. Jake is heading toward his sophomore year in college. Jessy just finished her first school year as a teacher.
And so, in our conversations these days, the zombie apocalypse idea re-emerges. We’d all be in different locations, which makes it a bit trickier. I’d head out from my office downtown, pick up my mom who lives nearby and we’d all rendezvous at home. Then we’d grab groceries (non-perishables), the antique rifle (or is it a shotgun?), and head for the mountains. Sounds like a plan. “Nope,” says Jessy, “I can’t do that. I won’t leave my kids.” Her “kids” are the first grade students she teaches. She is steadfast. Sure, perhaps some parents would come get their kids, but if any were still at school, the only way she’d leave is if they came with us. We discuss how many of them we can fit in our smallish vehicles and determine perhaps two cars is the way to go.
People, we live in a world where my daughter won’t leave the children she teaches during a zombie apocalypse. There is plenty more to be said, but somehow, absurdly, this sums it up. How do we begin to make this a safe, loving community where we build each other up rather than tear each other down? Let’s promise not to leave each other during the zombie apocalypse. Let’s create the world we want to live in, together.