I snapped a picture of these three little shells that I found while walking along the the beach at Watercolor. They remind me of my three daughters. They remind me of angels.
Like so many parents, I am still trying to wrap my head around the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary where twenty first graders and six teachers/administrators were gunned down by a twenty year old boy. I read a few of the reports and commentaries when they first hit the news outlets. The stories were about gun control, mental health, politics, the Second Amendment, the NRA, freedom, the Constitution, finger-pointing and battle cries. I expected one of these things to grab hold of me but nothing resonated. I felt nothing. I heard nothing. I was numb.
I can imagine this is how a parent might feel after learning about the death of a child. So much noise and chaos coming at you from the outside but on the inside, you’re drowning. Voices are muffled. The world slows and all you hear is the pulse of your heart pounding through your chest and in your head. There is absolutely no where to go. Death pours over you and you just have to endure it.
Yesterday I spent the day looking for answers. I googled “Senator Landrieu on gun control” and “Bobby Jindal on mental health”. I emailed Father Henry at Trinity asking for words of hope in my struggle to make sense of all this. I cornered Rabbi Schiller at a party hoping for more answers, more perspective. I shared tears with other mothers. I read through the article and resources that my daughter’s school sent to parents on how to talk to children about such things. I emailed my tribe asking them to share their thoughts on the issue so that we could in some small way be part of the dialogue, part of the healing.
I did all of these things. I still have no answers. And I’m not even sure what the questions are or if they even matter. So I decided to turn off the intellect, quiet the dialogue inside my head and see what that might bring.
I prayed. I cried. I confessed to my husband that my heart was just so heavy. I squeezed my babies. I smelled their hair. I let them be loud. I thanked God they were alive.
None of this, of course, solves whatever problems we have or takes away the pain. But as parents, no matter who we are, where we come from, what continent we live on, how much or how little we have, what our politics or persuasions may be, we are united by a common thread–the love of a child. And it is fitting that a child… that children might unite us because they have so much to teach us. In their innocence comes a freedom to love and to forgive.
And these are the things that will help us heal.