Monday, December 17, 2012

a letter to my son about grief

Dear Simon,

I've held you a lot these past few days.  We've put your "schedule" on hold and made sure to cherish your babyhood, your innocence.

On Friday, there was a young who was very sick in his mind, and he did some horrible, mean things to some children and adults at a school. You and I were in line at the grocery store when I found out. You were chewing on your Sophie giraffe because you'll be teething soon, and I scrolled through my phone.

I put my hand over my mouth and said,

"Oh my gosh."

A mama behind me asked if I had just read about the shooting.

"Yeah." I said. I cried.

And the mama said, "Hold that baby tight."

And I did. I picked you up out of your carseat and held you while we checked out.

Then I carried you to the Harris Teeter bathroom, locked us inside, sat on the toilet and wept on to your little fuzzy head.

You babbled and chewed on Sophie for the next few minutes. I rocked you back and forth on that toilet. Someone knocked on the door, and I yelled,

"Just a minute!" which made you jump and get scared, because you don't like when someone makes a loud noise too suddenly.

It's never timely when bad things happen to good people. One day you'll have to learn that, and that was part of the reason I was crying.

And I cried because--as a mama (well, and as a human)--there are places that we can't let ourselves go in our minds. There are things that we can't let ourselves think about. Except on that day, there were moms who had to go there, because it was real life. And, ouch, it overwhelmed and hurt your mama's heart. I wanted to be able to go up to those mamas and take away that pain and replace it with anything else. Anything.

But I couldn't.

Those mommies and daddies and brothers and sisters and daughters and sons will have to live out some of their very scariest fears. Some people go through very sad things, and that doesn't seem very fair, does it? But what we can do for those people is to pray for them and give them hugs and not say too much to them but listen very well. And we have to let them feel whatever it is that they need to feel and for however long they need to feel it.

I love you, sweetie. Oh my gosh, so very very much.


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