On Saturday the children and I baked holiday cookies.
Before we began I gathered them together around a candle at our table.
"Let's light a candle first," I told them. "We'll light a candle for anyone on Earth who is hurting or sad, sick or angry today. We'll send our love to them through this light."
Yes, why? How do you tell them why without shattering the magic realm in which they dwell?
"Because," I told them, "if we focus on sending love to those who need it most right now, maybe they will feel it. Maybe our love can reach all around the world, to everyone who is sad today."
We pictured the light of that small flame glowing out and encircling the Earth, touching every life that is filled with pain right now. We kept that flame buring all day.
And even for me, that's a better feeling than focusing on the details of something unspeakable. To focus instead on how can we shine love into this darkness.
We held hands and I said a silent prayer.
And then I kissed each of my children strong and hard on the head.
"I love you so much," I told them. "Every day I am thankful to have you in my life."
They hustled off to gather baking supplies and I said another prayer. And cried a little more for the children.
My kids do not know what happened on Friday.
I hope it is a story I never have to explain to them. Because how can I? I can not comprehend it myself, much less translate it to my innocent six year old. Children - all children - deserve to live a childhood knowing they are safe. I'll do what I can to keep that belief alive.
As for my own process or guiding you through yours, I do not have any wisdom to offer. No magic statement that will make us all able to better swallow this bitter pill. I have far more questions than answers right now. I think we all do.
I mean, my God. They were Lupine's age. One of them almost shares her birthday.
For me all of this grief translated quite simply into me being a better mom. I found myself being more patient. More kind. More understanding. More playful.
I found myself appreciating my children more - and everyone I love.
I focused on the singular belief that each day is a gift.
Today is very much all that we have. Now. This moment.
Use it well.
So I'm doing my best to be here now and to lead with love. What else can I do? When I slip beneath the shadow I loose myself to fear and despair. And that won't serve me. (Or my kids, or any of us.) Positive change needs to come through positive intention and positive action.
So I'm counting blessings as I find my way through this dark place.
I'm focusing on cultivating peace.
What about you? How are each of you truly doing today? What light are you finding to shine into the darkness?
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Charlotte Bacon 2/22/06, 6
Daniel Barden 9/25/05, 7
Rachel Davino 7/17/83, 29
Olivia Engel 7/18/06, 6
Josephine Gay 12/11/05, 7
Ana M Marquez-Greene 4/4/06, 6
Dylan Hockley 3/08/06, 6
Dawn Hocksprung 6/28/65, 47
Madeline F. Hsu 7/10/06, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard 6/08/06, 6
Chase Kowalski 10/31/05, 7
Jesse Lewis 6/30/06, 6
James Mattioli 3/22/06, 6
Grace McDonnell 11/04/05, 7
Anne Marie Murphy 7/25/60, 52
Emilie Parker 5/12/06, 6
Jack Pinto 5/6/06, 6
Noah Pozner 11/20/06, 6
Caroline Previdi 9/7/06, 6
Jessica Rekos 5/10/06, 6
Avielle Richman 10/17/06, 6
Lauren Russeau 6/82, 30
Mary Sherlach 2/11/56, 56
Victoria Soto 11/4/85, 27
Benjamin Wheeler 9/12/06, 6
Allison N Wyatt 7/03/06, 6
~ * ~ * ~ * ~