I attempted twice today to post a status on Facebook about the horrific events that transpired in Newtown, Connecticut. Twice, I have posted and deleted them. I think this is happening because I am desperately trying to lighten the horror, anger, sadness, and confusion I feel with words. The words I have read from others are true, all of them, but they are not working for me. I am at a loss because no matter what I write – my words could never even begin to help those people directly affected by this tragedy.
A quote: Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another person. – Roy Schafer.
I can offer sympathy to these victims, but can I offer something I think is even more important: empathy? I don’t know. Can I really comprehend the state of mind of a parent who has lost a perfectly innocent, beautiful child to such a senseless act of terror? No. I cannot. Can I empathize with a person who has lost an adult loved one in such a horrible way? No. I cannot.
I do know what it feels like to wake your child in the morning, to feed them breakfast and talk about what will happen in school. I know what it feels like to argue about the need for a hat, to chuckle as you shove it on his little head as he finally smiles and gives in. I know what it feels like to wait for the school bus to arrive, and to watch the object of your unconditional love saunter down the walkway – backpack stuffed with books, a lunchbox, and a teddy bear. I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like to have him not walk up the walkway and into the house at 3:45. I can’t begin to imagine knowing that the morning routine will never happen again, because he never came home from school. I can’t imagine these things because they hurt so much, I put them out of my mind.
It’s easy for me to pray for these victims today. It’s easy for me to hug my children today. It’s easy because we are home safe tonight, Christmas lights sparkling on our tree, candles glowing and filling the house with the smells of the holidays.
waiting for the bus