I'm having a hard time with December 14th. I'm having a hard time because twenty sets of parents lost a child in a senseless act of violence on that day. Yet, that day is one of the happiest of my life because it is the day that Jacob Michael Flinn finally decided to enter the world six years ago. As soon as I heard that the kids who died were all six or seven years old I knew I couldn't walk away from this one. Too close. I know a six year old. He runs through our house. He defeats bad guys. He makes videos of his toys doing nothing while he sings songs about them. He tells jokes that don't make sense but we laugh at them anyway. He trips his little sister on purpose then tells me it's an accident. He buys his little sister presents. He needs to play by himself in his room sometimes for privacy. He needs to sit right next to me on the couch sometimes to make sure I'm still there for him. I know what six looks like-as does this blogger who says it better than I could. http://jrowewalters.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/what-six-looks-like/
I haven't watched much of the television coverage of that awful event. I can't seem to handle it. I cry. I feel defeated. I feel broken. And if I (who still has my six year old) feel that way then how do I fathom what those parents feel? I can't. Grief is a tide. I imagine those parents are drowning in a high tide right now. I imagine emotion is so overwhelming that lungs are burning. Eyes are blurry. Minds uncomprehending. Existing moment to moment. Trying to make it through one more hour. Waiting. Waiting for the tide to roll out again. To be able to take a breath. But then low tide comes and lays bare everything that the high tide had buried. Treasures. A favorite toy. A picture. A memory. Low tide scrapes away rocks and peels away layers of sediment and shifts things around. Low tide leaves scars.
We turn off the TV if the kids are in the room because we don't want them to know about what happened. At six, would Jake even understand? Of course not. I'm 43 and I don't understand. After he got on the bus this morning I had a small panic attack about whether or not he would hear something from an older child or teacher today. If he did, he didn't mention it. That's the beauty of six. You still get to be a bit oblivious to life.
Except what if you are one of the six year olds who survived? I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that scenario. How does a normal six year old process something so completely abnormal in their world? How do you watch your teacher get killed and come out okay? These are the children that need our prayers.
I really believe that prayer is the only answer here. A return to God. Sure, maybe stricter gun control laws or better screening and treatment for mentally ill people would help too. But nothing trumps prayer. And if you can't get behind God then maybe you can get behind what He stands for. Compassion. Love.