Last night, Elliot curled up in bed between Mr. Level-Headed and I. He was frightened and he was crying. As I rubbed his back and assured him that he was safe, he innocently asked:
Mom, why do children have to die? Why can't we all be allowed to grow old?
Unfortunately, I could not answer this question. It is one that has always troubled me. I am a firm believer in happy endings, and yet, this world does not seem to share my affinity for them, which is why I refuse to believe that This is all there is to life. I snuggled in closer to Elliot, and with tears streaming down my face, I whispered:
I don't know, Bud. I really don't know.
Words cannot express how heavy my heart has felt since Friday. I am all too familiar with the pain of losing a baby whom I have never held or even seen, but how does a parent say good-bye to a child whom they have loved, nurtured, and enjoyed for six or twenty-seven years? The depth of their pain is unfathomable to me. I have wept and prayed for those whose lives have been touched by this tragedy all weekend. I have held my boys a little tighter during our nightly scripture study, my lips have lingered a little longer on Baby Girl's forehead as I have kissed her goodnight, and I have sat and listened more intently to all of their tales and concerns.
This is all I can do. My tears can not mend the broken hearts. My prayers can not bring those innocent lives back. But, they can make a difference. They can help me to better appreciate the blessings in my own life and help me to focus less on those blessings I have been denied. They can help me to be more mindful of the sorrow of others and help me to be more "willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:9). If this tragedy does nothing more than to help everyone be a little more loving and a little more gentle in their words, their thoughts, and their actions, then it will not be for naught. Then, indeed, this tragedy will have a happy ending after all.
Shenanigans Inc. would like to extend our heartfelt prayers to the community of Newtown, Connecticut.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matt 5:4)
Being a lover of happy endings, I would like to share our very own happy ending: Baby Girl is healed and has gone into remission. Hallelujah! Here's to a healthier, happier, and gentler 2013.