This morning I read two blog posts by a Tucson blogger, a member of the BlogHer Network, and a survivor of recent shootings. Suzi Hileman, who writes The Burrow under the blogonym, Ashleigh Burroughs, is a new heroine of mine. She writes about walking through the vigil garden at UMC on Sunday evening with her husband, and by law enforcement. The garden was created for her and for the 19 others that were hurt or killed on January 8th. She writes with a grace and strength that I can only describe as exceptional.
The first post of hers I read was written on Sunday. It was moving. The second was written on Monday and it is inspirational. It is as powerful of a piece of writing as I have read. That she is able to write just over a week after being shot multiple times by a madman is beyond amazing.
Many folks, myself included, allow the bumps in life to disturb them more than is necessary. Our absolutely wimpy nature is made clear when we compare ourselves to this woman. First she has written consistently for two years and built up a following and received recognition for the quality of her blog in that time. That is an achievement. Now as a survivor of a shooting that was an attempt at a political assassination, as the woman who was holding hands with little girl, Christine Green, as she was murdered by the madman, as the wife of a man who spoke eloquently and rationally about a vile act of a disturbed mind, she speaks calmly and with a clarity of a person who is either being guided by the divine if that exists, or who somehow has a gift to be able to see hopeful, blossoming patterns of what might be and guide us to them through this maze of absurdity that is now.
In the midst of all this, there is also the fact that her personal life now connects to her writing life. They were separate. I put the two together when I was looking at a list of survivors and victims and saw no Ashleigh there. Then I realized the wounds described by Ashleigh’s daughter on the blog were the wounds described by the media as those of Suzi Hileman. On top of everything else inflicted upon her and stolen from her, her anonymity was gone, she had been outed. Fate saw fit to have the real woman behind the great blog emerge. We cannot know why. I hope she continues to blog, but it is not something that would be fair to ask of her. If she continues to blog, it will be a gift.
There are such treasures of people all around us. People with gifts. Angels Unaware so to speak. I am adding Suzi to my list of comforts: places, thoughts, friends, readings, songs and poetry to which I can go, think, talk, read, listen when I need to find peace within myself. Genuine voice. Voice that takes me to a place in which I can find comfort. Real voices that know oh so much more than they ever wished to know. Voice from which I can learn.
I also feel tremendous sadness for Suzi. As a person who has come to a point in life where she can give and speak from a point of wisdom, she is not to be envied. Wisdom gathers knowledge into us through sadness, trauma, and loss. Wisdom is the balance that comes with perspective showing beginnings and endings, full circles, and fearful beauty of birth and death. Wisdom is nothing I would wish on anyone. For those who have reached its sun and shadows I am most grateful when they share bits of what they have come to know, but it is nothing for which I could ever ask. It is too personal. It is a gift.
Thank you Suzi.