Images dropping before my mind’s eye like slides:
lockdown drills suddenly in sharp focus,
children huddling with their backs against the wall, invisible to an intruder,
teachers shushing them
and hoping they’d manage in a real emergency.
Now there are real pictures.
Children who will now always feel sick at the sound of a loud bang,
who will always remember that there was blood in those classrooms.
The terror and devastation on their faces makes me cry,
makes my insides tremble.
Guns did this.
Guns took a whole town and bereaved it of its children,
because even the families whose children are alive
will never be whole in the same way.
The very worst of worst fears,
the nightmare that won’t stop –
it’s all now real.
Their children were stolen.
Not just death, not just loss,
greater than my mind can grasp.
How do you ever function again?
How do you eat, do laundry, buy groceries, put gas in the car, take a shower?
How do you sleep, ever again?
I can’t stop thinking of the Christmas presents.
Joyfully bought, lovingly made…
And now just pain.
I think of bunk beds with one empty,
one child to kiss goodnight where there were two.
How do you even begin to find the possibility of the first tiny step
Does it help, just a tiny whisper of solace,
when a whole town can grieve together?
It is a whole new town, after all.
Does it help that all of us,
parent or not,
bereaved or not,
are fervently, heartbrokenly
sending them our love?