I sure haven’t felt much like writing lately. There is just SO much sadness hanging in the air, and I know I’m not alone in feeling it. Doesn’t it seem like just as we recover and begin to move forward from one tragedy, another occurs? It’s just so SENSELESS. Don’t get me wrong, walking into your former employer’s office and gunning him down for firing you isn’t justified, but there is just a massive, horrific, missing link when someone walks into a school and guns down little innocent babies. My heart just cannot understand.
I’m having a really hard time with this one, my friends. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a mother. Maybe it’s partly the Postpartum that makes me even more emotional than usual. Maybe it’s that all of this has happened just days before Christmas. But I can’t stop THINKING about it. It’s everywhere I go. It’s every song on the radio, every gift I wrap for my kids to put under the tree. It’s every time I tuck them in or kiss their sweet little heads. It’s every time my baby girl reaches her arms out for me, and every time my little guy bumps into something and cries, “Mama!”. I cannot imagine having those moments ripped away from me, and I cannot even begin to fathom what the parents of those angels are going through.
Not to take anything away from the adults who lost their lives… I grieve for them, and their families. But the innocence and utter HELPLESSNESS of children; the lives that they will never have the chance to live… nothing can compare to the pain that their loved ones are experiencing.
No parent should ever have to bury a child. Ever.
I keep wondering what their parents are doing. As I cook dinner, I wonder. As I bathe the kids, or sign their homework or put away toys, I wonder. How can you even get out of bed? I don’t know that I could. I think about the fact that with six and seven year olds, they likely have other small children to care for, and I wonder how on earth they are finding the strength to not only care for themselves, but for others. Maybe it’s all that gets them out of that bed, I don’t know. But I ache for them, all day long.
I don’t live in the US, and our gun regulations in Canada are very different. I have never had the fear of sending my child to school… we really don’t see these things happen that much up here, but today my heart was heavy as I watched Taya step up onto the bus when it stopped at our driveway. She looked back, gave me a big smile and a wave, and then she was gone. Just like that. I stood in the doorway and just closed my eyes. How could any parent ever imagine that being their last goodbye? Toast with peanut butter and honey, go brush your hair and your teeth, do you have your hat? Where is your lunch box? Don’t forget to wash your hands…. have a great day! I love you!
And that’s it. Gone.
One less setting at the table, one less voice wafting through the house, one less joyful soul experiencing the magic of Christmas this year.
Someone I cared about very much died a few years ago. At the age of only 37, his heart just stopped beating and we lost him. He had a wife, three young boys, and a whole life yet to live – and it was just extinguished. Even now, I sometimes sit and just listen to my heartbeat. I became frighteningly aware of the fact that this delicate little muscle keeps us all alive, and can just stop at any point. We all go about our days, very rarely thinking about how precious they are, and how numbered they may be. There is a balance somewhere, a line between fear and appreciation, where we should all walk. I don’t want to be scared. I don’t want my kids to be scared. I see a lot of people online talking about how they are considering keeping their children home for a while, or even homeschooling them from now on. I personally don’t want to alter my kids’ lives to pacify my fears. I don’t want them to live that way. I want them to have the childhood that I did; playing outside, riding bikes, knocking on doors to find their friends and coming home when the street lights turn on. I want them to love school! I want them to have favourite teachers and best friends and learn how to deal with playground scuffles and bullies. But at the same time, I also somehow need to make them cognisant of the dangers that exist, and teach them to have a great appreciation for every moment they are given on this earth.
That’s a tall order, but one I am prepared to fill. It’s my job.
Christmas will literally not be the same for me this year. I do not live in Newtown, never been there. I don’t know anyone who is involved with this tragedy, and I likely never will. But when you are a mother, you feel a connection to all children, not just your own. You also feel a connection to all mothers, and that’s what I am feeling right now. I doubt that the mothers of the children who lost their lives on Friday will ever read this, but to them, I send my love. I am grieving with you. I am losing sleep with you. I am hurting with you. Because of you, and your angels, I am holding my kids tighter and longer. I am cherishing more, and nagging less. I am putting unimportant things aside to just be with them, and enjoy them. Your children are reminding us what this season is about, and you should be very, very proud of your brave little boys and girls. This Christmas will be not about shopping, or presents or parties… but about family, and love, and togetherness.
Whether you realize it or not, your children have changed the world for the better. The world now knows their names and will not forget them.
They are a symbol of peace.
Love and strength to the families of Newtown… the world has its arms around you.