Eight years ago today the nation was rocked by the loss of young life in Newton CT. Sonja (now 16) was eight years old and enrolled in eighth grade #ParkerSchool. I felt the pain of that moment on many levels -- both as a father and as citizen of a country that had not figured out how to manage gun violence or to support those who suffer from mental illness.
I wept tonight because I had no answers.
I placed myself in their shoes and I could not walk;
I could barely stand under the weight my thoughts.
That they will never hear another soft song at assembly, or share another tooth fairy;
That presents, whose gift of paper cuts still sting as the last ornaments are hung on the tree,
will never open.
In the coming days and weeks I may have to be the strong one;
With comforting tone, I’ll say no harm will come your way;
This will not happen in your school, to our community.
I will make up answers.
That people do horrible things, but they are not horrible;
That our sadness and love must extend not only to those that have lost,
but also to those that suffer and seek a quick, destructive end.
But tonight I need your small frame to hold me up.
Take my wide hands, still callused from the forgotten hours of garden toil,
in your soft, perfect palms.
Let your warmth and gentle bouncing calm my shaking pulse.
Cloak me in your thin arms whose fingers barely touch around my shoulders;
help me to forget the unimaginable;
help me dry my hidden tears.
I will keep the radio turned off, longing to protect you.
But really it is for me.
And on a chilly Monday morning I will somehow drop you off at the front door,
waving goodbye as we always do.
Still with no answers but knowing that worse has happened in this world,
and somehow we don’t lose hope.
We are offered a chance to create a more perfect place where no paths lead to that dark end.
I may not have answers,
but I have enough faith to let you fly above this sadness and make a fresh start to a new day.