I’ve been trying to find some words, any words for a while now. I haven’t posted anything about this awful tragedy because I haven’t been able to find anything to say. I’m at a loss for words, and those who know me know that doesn’t happen very often.
This type of event is tragic and heartbreaking every time it happens, but it is especially saddening because so many of the lives lost were children. Babies, really. Babies with their whole lives ahead of them. They’ll never fall in love, fight with their parents, party too hard in college, or cuddle babies of their own. Some of them probably hadn’t even learned how to ride their bikes without training wheels yet.
Their mommies and daddies will never again tuck them into bed, smooth their hair and kiss their sweet cheeks goodnight. They’ll never stay up all night worrying while their child is at prom. They’ll never cry as they drop their baby off at college. They don’t get to wonder, as we all do, where the time is going, because their babies won’t be growing up anymore.
I held A closer the last few nights than I ever have. Nightmares kept me awake, so I watched her sleep peacefully. I listened to her heartbeat and felt her breath on my cheek. And when she woke up and smiled at me, I smiled too. I am thankful she is too young to remember what happened. I am already dreading the day I have to explain it to her.
(But sometimes when I look at her I cry. Sometimes I find myself wiping her tears and my own, though we are crying for different reasons.)
I wish I could hold her close to me forever. I wish I could protect her from all the danger and evil in the world. But I can’t, and as a mother, it breaks my heart and terrifies me. All I can do is love her, teach her right from wrong and to be an advocate for her own safety, and then let her go and pray.
I don’t know what needs to be done to prevent this from happening again. I know a lot of people have said a lot of things. I’m not sure any one of them is a singular solution. But that’s another post, for another time; something I do want and plan to talk about. I will say this: It is obvious that the United States has a huge violence problem, as well as many issues with how mental illness is diagnosed and dealt with. I don’t know what the solution is, but something has to happen. We should never be afraid to send our kids to school, go to church, or go to the movies. It’s time we reclaimed these most basic rights from the evil around us.
But in the meantime, we should simply practice love as a verb. Hug your loved ones tight everyday. Tell them you love them. Extend all the care and kindness you are able. Help others as much as you can. If you see someone struggling, lend a hand to help or an ear to listen. If you can’t, get them to someone who can.
We’ll continue living because we have to, and because we can’t let them take that from us too. But we’ll never forget. I’m not an extremely religious person, but I have found some solace in the following:
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as them.” Matthew 19:14
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61:2-3
I hope all of you find some peace today. Let’s keep sending love, prayers, and as many good vibes as we can. We’re all in this together.