You don’t have to be a parent to grieve the senseless loss of life and innocence in Connecticut today. Only a parent, however, knows that particular and poignant disbelief when they have inexplicably outlived their child. This is a huge aberration, an unnatural event that can take the balance of a lifetime to fathom, if it can indeed be understood at all. The last moments these parents spent with their children before sending them to school today will forever be crystallized in their memories, like an insect trapped in amber. They will be taken out and polished, dissected, wept over, cherished, or regretted.
At some point, they will have to pack up their child’s belongings and remove them from sight. The shoes that they’ll never outgrow, the height markings on the door frame that will never be marked any taller, the smudged fingerprints on the wall. The little things that they used to find annoying, like that bit of toothpaste in the sink, the toys scattered on the floor, will suddenly take on enormous meaning. Removing them will somehow seem disloyal. There will always be beautiful memories, but they will never be enough for the parents of the children stolen from them by the selfish actions of one individual.
In the coming days, the families will have to remove their child’s unopened gifts from under the Christmas tree. This season will now be forever tainted by grief, loss and pain. Those that are left behind to mourn; family, friends, co-workers - their lives are now forever changed and marked by this event. Everyone will ask the question “Why?” and it will never be answered properly. Ever.
What does this say about our society that it can be so blind to a person’s anger and pain that it can allow it to spill over so violently and affect so many lives in such a permanent, desperate and deadly manner? Today some of us might remember to hold one another a little bit closer and to say the words that we’ve been meaning to say. Tragedy has a way of reminding us that we’re all mortal. Capture and exult in your joie de vivre and let it shine every day. Share the love you have with those you love, today and every day. There are no re-takes, no call backs, no mulligans.
Hugs to all.