She lightly skipped toward our car today, wondering if we might stop for cupcakes on the way home, hoping that the count would be in for the school competition the next day, realizing with a touch of sadness that tomorrow would be Saturday with no school for two more days. My son—breathing, warm, whole—is already home from his short day in Kindergarden.

As I grasped her hand in mine, she pranced along oblivious to the chatter—mundane and significant alike—between small groups of parents waiting for their beloveds to walk out the door. She is seven, and not equipped to deal with the harsher realities of our life in these times. I am thirty seven and still lack the facilites to process the enormity of it all. I felt gravity pulling me toward silent contemplation while her steps both defied and accepted the limitations of our existence, her staccato rhythm cycling unencumbered by the what-ifs and hows and whys. She continued forward, pulling me along, unaware of all these questions with answers that will never come.

I have been ungrateful and impatient at times for the privilege that is our life’s banality; the schedules, chores, repetitive and thankless tasks, the hardships and even tender moments, the sense of grounding weight in an embrace. If I would be lucky enough to continue on with only this, to have a life most ordinary, I will have been blessed beyond measure.

Tonight in the darkness I will grieve as a parent with a finer sense of mortality, who understands more everyday there is a penalty worse than death; to survive when your child does not.

Come the morning, I will welcome the light.


9 thoughts on “

  1. I cannot believe the selfishness of one human to take the lives of so many innocent ones! May God Bless those who have perished at the hands of this horrible individual, and those who were left behind to wonder why. God give them peace and healing, in their hearts and minds. Thank you for your lovely post. Hugs, Leena

  2. Cheryl, this is beautifully written and really sums up how I’m feeling. So don’t understand what happened yesterday. Luke and I cried watching the news last night.

  3. I am sobbing now as I read your post and reminded, once again, of life’s uncertainty. My baby grandson died last year at 6 weeks from a rare and deadly form of leukemia. This incident brings back the feeling of living in a nightmare that me and my family felt for months after our sweet Tucker’s death. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal though there is a light patch with the recent birth of his sister, Mia. Mia Hope. I am keeping these families who are suffering their tremendous losses in my thoughts and pray for their hope.

  4. I finally changed the channel from CNN after being glued on the couch to it yesterday. It’s to a point where you watch and can’t breathe b/c you feel all of the pain of the hearts of the parents whose kids didn’t come home with them. All I kept thinking was they probably already had Christmas presents for their little ones. It’s enough to make a person gasp for air. It’s not fair. It’s not right. I am at a loss of words for the why and the how and the anger doesn’t make it any better. I literally hope that somehow, someway these parents and family who lose loved ones, find solace in their lives in the years to come, so that they can learn to breathe again.

  5. Cheryl posted this link in another forum, and I think it worth repeating – Mr. Rogers says “look for the helpers” – I think much of the other advice in this article applies to how we adults can deal with this, as well as our children – I, for one, am turning off the TV –

  6. Very well said honey, I think we all will be hugging our children and grandchildren even more tightly. Also thanking God for them and for their innocence.

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