This week there has been a hole in my heart…and in my home.
My eight year old daughter has been gone all week on a school trip. At her Waldorf school, the third graders traditionally go off for a week to a farm about three hours away. They learn about animal care and farming. They milk cows, make yogurt, and feed piglets…among other things.
I know this is an amazing experience and I am so grateful that she has this opportunity. I have no doubt that she is having what will be one of the most memorable experiences of her life.
They are not allowed to call home. I have not seen her face nor heard her voice all week, and I am aching for her.
It is so quiet in our house.
Without her, everything feels off.
There have been a few times this week when I have stopped to consider the horrible pain of parents whose children are truly gone…not for a week on a school trip, but…just gone. I understand it is a pain of which one cannot truly comprehend the depths, until you have been thrust there.
I can’t imagine the feeling of coming home, for the first time knowing your child will never walk through the front door again…will never again sit at the dinner table, will never again be tucked into their warm bed. Being surrounded by evidence of their existence everywhere…from their clothing that still holds the smell of them…to their toys and drawings…to their toothbrush…
And then, yesterday there was another school shooting. Yet another group of children left home in the morning, on what their parents thought would be a typical day…and now they are gone.
Really and truly…gone from this Earth…just.like.that.
I saw a boy on the news…a high school student who survived the shooting spree. He said, “You are the grown ups. We are just children. It is your job to keep us safe. You need to fix this.”
He is so right, this boy.
I want to tell him that we will.
I want to tell him that we know how.
But…until I can understand how anyone can look at the anguished faces of these parents and tell them it is about politics, or money, or gun owners’ rights….as long as lawmakers can look at the these people going through absolute hell, and tell them that our right to own assault weapons is more important than the lives of their children…we are failing.
We are failing our children.
We are failing ourselves.
These are our babies. Not hers or his or theirs…but OURS.
Make no mistake, this can happen anywhere, to anyone….and I don’t say that casually nor flippantly.
I say it GRAVELY, because it is horrifying.
I feel angry and sad and helpless, as I somewhat breathlessly await my daughter’s return…fully aware of this sad truth –
When I am able to wrap my arms around her tomorrow, I will be one of the lucky ones.