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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

What do you say?

Lots of people are turning to their blogs tonight after the tragic events in Newtown, CT, churning through words in an attempt to organize heartbreak into obedient lines on a page.

I am no different.

I am also no different in my inability to separate myself from the loss we all feel - obviously none more than those personally affected, that should go without saying. But there's not a parent in the world who heard about this brutal attack and didn't immediately think of their own children and wonder if they were okay, though in most cases there was no reason to believe they wouldn't be.

But that's what today reminded us - that when things aren't  okay, you won't always know. Until it's too late.

So, many of us spent the afternoon feeling guilty that we'd yelled the night before, or trying to remember if we'd taken the time to hug our kids before rushing them off to the bus stop, or regretting that we hadn't called out, "I love you" one more time from the car for fear of embarrassing them in front of their friends.

One thing I didn't do this afternoon was wonder how I would discuss it with my kids, who are all adults, or a baby, or school-agers who are unlikely to watch the news.

But when the kids came home from school and I walked in the room to see them sweetly playing with their baby sister, it really hit me - the unimaginable possibility that one of them might not be sitting there, and the unfathomable fact that it isn't just a possibility for so many families tonight. It's their reality.

I lost it. I fully intended to shelter them, but suddenly I was sobbing and had to explain why and, despite having thought about it from every other angle all day, I found myself unprepared to talk about it with my children.

I gave them the briefest of overviews, emphasizing that they are safe and have nothing to worry about. They were easy to convince, having no frame of reference for something this truly horrific, for which I am indescribably grateful.

I am no different from other parents of the world today. I spent more time playing with my kids, sat at the dinner table listening to them talk long after everyone had finished eating, I hugged them more. I appreciated the fact that they were simply there.

As I rocked the baby to sleep, I closed my eyes and tried to match the rhythm of her breath, felt the flutter of her eyelashes on my arm as she drifted off. I thought about the families in Newtown, the parents feeling lost and shattered. I tried to send whatever strength I could from my heart, but what do you say? There are no words, only images.

I imagined the deep, jagged canyon that had been ripped into their lives. I envisioned the erosion of time dulling the sharpness, wearing down the peaks, softening the edges. There will always be empty space in their hearts where there once was solid ground. But I hope that someday soon, instead of staring into an abyss, they will be able to sit serenely on the ridge of a valley. I hope that somehow they will find beauty in the landscape again. I hope they will find peace.



I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely. I get extra-pathetic when I'm lonely.


26 comments:

  1. I am so moved by today's senseless massacre i cannot comment--I can only cry...

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    1. Thank you for visiting and reading - I hope you find some comfort today.

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  2. I hope peace for them as well. I pray and cry.
    Devan

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    1. Same here, I just feel so helpless there isn't more I can do. Or un-do.

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  3. Just like you, I felt guilty all last night for every little rant I layed on my kids this week. And I also feel guilty thinking I should know better than to take my kids for granted since I have lost a child. There just aren't a lot of words . . .

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    1. Your post of hope and healing was just absolutely beautiful - you have a very important message to share, and I hope the right hearts find it, read it, and believe it.

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    1. Thank you. I just had to get it out - I'm lucky I have a place to come where I can do so.

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  5. Thanks for writing this, Robyn. So well said...

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    1. Thanks, Meredith - and thanks for being here.

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  6. I look at my children, the same ages as some of the victims, and I wonder how those parents can cope with their loss? This was just so wrong. You summed up the feeling beautifully.

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    1. Thank you - I wonder the same thing. It just doesn't seem possible. And yet I know people do cope, because they have no other choice. I just can't imagine it.

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  7. I've shed a few tears over this senseless tragedy, and shed a few more as I read this. My heart aches.

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  8. This is really beautiful, Robyn, I am finally coming up for air and all I can think is I hope these parents find peace, comfort and strength. I still can't write.

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    1. Thank you, Jen - I had no words, then these came all at once. I hope the parents find everything they need to begin healing, too.

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  9. so well said, i can't imagine it, don't want to imagine it... and can't believe for some this, the unimaginable, is what they are living.

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    1. I don't think it's something people are capable of wrapping their minds around, looking on from the outside. It's incredibly merciful that we can't imagine it, and I'm with you - I really don't want to be able to, even though it is reality.

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  10. Such beautiful words for such an ugly horrific situation. I'm not a parent, but I am a human being who loves and is loved. I can't imagine having anyone in my life directly exposed to such horror, and I selfishly hope I never have to. Thank you for sharing yourself here today.

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    1. Thank you for being here. Parents or not, as human beings we're all rocked by what happened. Parent, child, sibling, friend - we all have those to whom we can't imagine anything this senseless and horrible happening. We all feel it, and we all wish we didn't have to.

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  11. My 'babies' are 19 and 17. I don't rock them to sleep, or sing them to bed. I don't get to wait to see what book they will bring me, with great excitement, even though we've read this one particular book 4,214 times before. (I am crying as I type this). But last night - at 8:30, my anguish for these parents caused me to double over and sob that they were facing routines - bedtime, and they were lost. Wandering to a bedroom, empty, silent. Stumbling over toys left in moments just hours ago, where their 'baby' just played and imagined. I couldn't grasp it. All I could do was cry.

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    1. Your comment is so true and brings fresh tears. It's difficult to imagine all the things, the little daily moments, that pass almost unnoticed in normal daily life but would suddenly leave a gaping hole when gone. I was telling my husband this morning that I don't know how you could so much as move a dirty sock they'd dropped on the floor, since that was where they'd last touched it. Life both spinning and frozen. It's terrible.

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  12. I keep thinking about their young ages...and the numbers. My middle child is the same age and it's like going to school Monday morning...and her entire kindergarden class is just gone. and the teacher - who is also quite young. I just can't fathom it.
    My heart just breaks for all of them. our world is so so broken...and I just pray that this tragic event will finally unite us all towards fixing it. we can't reclaim what we've lost....but we can make it better for the children we do hold closer today with such gratitude.

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    1. Very well said - we can't undo what is done, and we can't focus the people who seem to be spending so much energy on fighting over what to change, but we can try to make things better for the little ones we're so, so lucky to still have in our lives.

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