December 14, 2012 by Julia
I don’t want to write about what happened this morning at the elementary school in Connecticut, but I have to.
I was planning to write about Jack and I dancing in the kitchen this morning. It was a happy, good moment, and I thought – I better write the specifics down, so I can remember this. I devoted ten full minutes on a busy weekday morning to just holding him in my arms and bopping him around to the beat of our music. It was like a surrender to love, a letting go of the million other things I had to be doing in those ten minutes, and it felt so right. Most of the time he was nuzzling my neck, but once or twice he would lean backwards to look me in the eye and smile at me, and I would kiss him quick on his perfect bow of a baby mouth, and he’d rest his head on my shoulder again, satisfied. It was the best. The best. I was going to title this post just that.
But I can’t go on, business as usual, after hearing about the shootings. When we arrived at home this afternoon, and I briefly saw a headline on TV before quickly changing it so Fiona wouldn’t see, I felt scattered to the wind. I kept trying to write about it while Jack napped and Fiona watched a movie. But nothing felt true or right. I looked through poetry, wondering if it would speak to these horrific events in a more profound way. Instead, I felt dragged down into the ground by the brutal words of grief – poets who had recently lost someone. It was more reality than I could handle. I can’t handle the truth of what the parents of these young children are experiencing. It is a nightmare.
I want to honor their children, though. And I want to empathize with them. Because I think we need to, as a community. We must take a moment to feel the sadness that links us, and lends gravity and meaning to all of our lives.
I want to do something to make it better. Don’t we all? Maybe the best we can do right now is to allow ourselves to feel the pain of our community, whether we are part of the community of parents, or locals to the elementary school, or Americans, or just citizens of the world. We are all part of a community that is affected by these shootings, regardless of who we are.
Allow yourself to care, even though it hurts. Mourn with those who mourn, even if it is just in the privacy of your own home. In this way, I believe we will deepen our connection to humanity, and maybe that will be what makes a difference.
To the parents: I commend you for surviving this day. Your child is beautiful and precious, as all children are. I am sending prayers and grief your way, and I am only one among millions who are doing the same. We cry with you today. Wrap yourself in our prayers, let our tears wash over you, and know that you are not alone.