Broken Hearts and Huge Responsibility

Friday marked five months since we left Sacred Heart without our daughter. But when I woke up in the morning I was almost immediately occupied with other thoughts.

A monster in Connecticut took the lives of 20 children and six adults. There are no words.

Over the last few days my heart has been filled with these children, these brave teachers, but mostly, with the parents of the children lost.

That shooter didn’t just murder innocent children. He murdered their parents. Life will never be the same for them. They’ll never again rest easy in the confidence that they can protect their babies. Their Christmas gifts will go ungiven, their New Years Eve will be spent numb, or worse yet, on fire with anger and pain.

How can this kind of evil live?

I watched President Obama’s speech on Sunday evening and I choked up when he read the names of the six teachers who died on Friday. I cried bitter tears when he read the names of the children, turned to my husband and said, “There are just too many kids’ names.” I nodded in agreement when he said that our most important responsibility is to our children, and that if we are honest with ourselves, we have failed at this responsibility. On this one point I actually agree with a politician (or at least, with his speech writer).

I have a new “At least I’m not…
because I cannot imagine living my life after losing my child in such horrific, violent, terrifying, unspeakable circumstances. After Friday, I quite frankly find it hard to imagine having to raise a child in this world at all.

A friend wrote me a message after this awful event and it touched my heart. She said that she imagined Hudson was welcoming these children to her special place in Heaven, and it made me cry and smile all at once. My beliefs on the “afterlife” are all up in the air after losing our daughter (basically, I go with “whatever makes me feel better” these days), and there is something very comforting in imagining our lost children in a place where no pain can find them, where hurt is gone, where terror and fear are replaced with safety and comfort and joy. I imagine Hudson, who has had five months to explore the place, welcoming these “Big Kids” with smiles and hugs, showing them her favorite activities, talking about how soon they all will be reunited with their parents and what a wonderful day they have to look forward to but in the meantime who wants to ride that giraffe or slide down that rainbow? I can think of no better ambassador to Heaven’s gates than our own precious and gone-too-soon red headed dynamo.

My heart breaks again and again for these children, for their parents, for that community. How can we ever believe in beauty and goodness again? How can we make beauty and goodness in a world that is covered in a film of ugly evil?

But we simply have to.

We cannot be complacent. We cannot make this somebody else’s problem to deal with. It is our own.

Never pass up an opportunity to make a positive impact, however small. Hug your children tighter, listen to them, discipline them, motivate them, teach them and give them a strong moral compass. Volunteer. Contribute. Smile.

It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the world as we know it were to end as the Mayan calendar predicts this Friday. And if I get to go to Heaven, I’ll be the first one in line for that rainbow ride with Hudson. But if we must stumble through this world for more than the next five days, perhaps we should make it our business to make it a world we would want our children to live in.

 

 

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