Being

When Children Die

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Last Christmas, Connecticut was struck by tragedy when a massive house fire took the lives of three little girls. I spent many moments weeping for those girls and the parents who had to go on living without them. I held my daughters excruciatingly tight and walked around my home making sure there were no fire hazards around. Admittedly, I still do. I wept months later when their father started a non-profit for supporting the arts in public schools. I cry almost every time I’m reminded of them. The emotional scar it left on me, someone who isn’t even remotely associated with those three little girls and their family, is gargantuan. They died just over a year ago.

Friday the unimaginable happened and Connecticut was struck by a catastrophic rampage of senseless violence. Children, who were really still just babies, and a small group of adults who devoted their lives to inspiring young minds, all lost their lives. Even as I’m typing this I can’t understand how this can be.

Anytime children die, however it may be, I’m left feeling like an anvil has been thrust upon my heart and the ground swept from under me. Crying feels like plummeting under a tremendous weight and fighting to wretch it off at the same time. Weeping this weekend felt just like that only ten times more intense. I have always cried easily for the suffering of others but something changes when you have your own children. When I became a parent I was given a rare window into the wondrous possibility for the future and I realized how fragile and precious life is. I saw how purely we all come into the world. I was also endowed with a fear unlike any I’d ever experienced – a suffocating slap in the face, “Don’t take this shit for granted.” When tragedy strikes children just one state over, it leaves this mother feeling like evil is trespassing way too close to home.

I’m a mess of emotions and questions and confusion. I cannot fathom what it’s like for the families directly impacted.

 

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