Friday, December 14, 2012

So Many Words for Something that Defies Them

A lot of words have already been written about what happened in an elementary school in Connecticut today, and millions more will be written in the days to come.  I can already see the documentaries, the commentaries, the editorials, and one day probably a TV movie.

The shootings today will become a rallying cry for gun control, for homeschooling, for better school security. Everyone will have an opinion on why it happened, on how it could have been prevented, and on what we need to do to stop it from happening again.

But for some families in Connecticut, it will simply be the day that the precious life of a child they carried in their wombs, held in their arms as newborns, nursed through colds and flus, proudly watched go off to school to learn and grow, loved with every ounce of their being was coldly and cruelly murdered.  Their children.  Their babies.  That part of the heart, they say, that walks around outside the body.  Dead.  Gone, forever.

No words, no opinion pieces, no dissecting of the events leading up to the shootings or of the possible ways they could have been prevented can ever change that.  Those innocent children are never coming back, no matter what we do.

Today, as I met my son at the Kindergarten door with tears in my eyes and held him, confused and trying to tell me about his day, close to me while I took deep breaths, I thanked every God and Goddess I could think of for that chance while parents across the country were somehow trying to come to grips with the reality that they would never do that again.

I know how I feel about the issues that surround this unbearable event, but right now they don't matter.  Right now I shed tears at even the thought of the pain parents just like me are feeling tonight.  They, like me, kissed their kids goodbye and were sure they would see them right after school like always.  But unlike me, they were wrong.

Whatever happens in the days to come, we must all try to remember that unspeakable truth.  I won't be one of the people who gives opinions or advice for what needs to be done.  I can't.  It's not that I don't think something must be done, or that something must change, but that I am above all else a mother who grieves right now for other mothers whose grief I can't begin to imagine.

While events like this can and must influence us to change for the better, we can't lose sight of the basic, human horror that happened today and of the lives that will never be the same.  Eventually, all such tragedies slip into the past, and most of us can put them behind us.  Some people never can and never will.  Most of us will see the documentaries and watch anniversary specials recounting the horror and feel sad all over again.  But those families who lost loved ones today will recount the horror every day, face the heartbreak every day.  It won't ever be over for them.

Children are dead.  It could have been any one of us.  

All else pales before that realization.  So much will be written, and yet, that's all there is.  Children are dead.