I doubt there many people in New Zealand who aren’t emotionally affected by the news of the three young girls killed in Timaru. I don’t think I can find the right word for how upsetting it is.
The fact their mother has been charged with the murder, makes it even more awful.
I’ve reflected on how I tend to have a somewhat different reaction to an (alleged) killing of children by one of their parents. If it is a father I tend to have emotions of hate and anger and regard the father as an evil bastard. But if it is a mother, I tend to have more disbelief and sadness, and just automatically assume it must be mental illness. Having talked to a few people on this, I don’t think this is unique to me.
I guess we instinctively regard mothers as more protective of their children.
It is hard to describe how strong the protective instinct is in (most) parents. At times I find it almost debilitating, as I tend to get anxious at the best of times anyway. For instance if I’m walking along the road I live on (a country road with no footpaths) I am constantly working out in my mind what I would do if a car skidded out of control towards us (basically throw my son over the fence between some trees). If we are near a river I am mentally looking at how I could most quickly get downstream if they slipped in. And the feeling of absolute dread when they disappear even for a few seconds in a playground is overpowering. Basically whenever I am with them outside our house, I am constantly focused on keeping them alive. As they get older, hopefully I get to relax some more.
But this makes what happened in Timaru even the more harder to understand. There really are no words adequate. I just wished we lived in a world where this never happened.