How to put into words the overwhelming sadness and despair that we are all feeling. Everyone always says that there are no words. But there has to be. Not words that will bring comfort. Not words that will explain, but words that can maybe frame our thoughts. Quantify them a bit and place them in a context that somehow will allow us to still recognize the world we once knew before this tragedy.
We want a world where Kindergarten is a magical place where letters and words become real, where kids sit in circles and sing, where they learn to play fair and play nice.
There was nothing nice in that classroom in Newtown. The rules were reversed. The songs jangled out of tune. And while their world was tragically cut short, our world turned upside down.
I cried when I heard the news. I cried when I watched the president weep. I cried when I saw the pictures that started appearing on Facebook. I read the names and cringed at the ages. Six years old. Seven years old. Twenty-seven. These names that meant nothing to me and yet moved me in a way I haven’t been moved in a very long time. Their families were suddenly mine. I wanted to sweep them up in my arms. I wanted to fly to Connecticut and scream. I wanted…I wanted…
But the anger and the pain that I feel is not translatable to anything I know. I read people’s comments about gun control. I read the tweets about mental illness. I watch the politicians start answering questions. But all I see is the faces of the children. All I imagine is their last moments. How much fear was there in that room? Did the shooter feel it? Did he care? Did he pause? I think of the families, getting ready to celebrate the holidays without their children. Looking at wrapped presents that will never be opened. Bicycles that lie in wait for a summer that will never come. They are visions of the words that no one can speak. Painful reminders of a pain so deep and a world so dark that we don’t dare discuss for fear that maybe we won’t be able to escape it.
One person’s pain can move the world, though. I heard the pain of the parents in Newtown. I felt the anguish of a nation faced with an act so unquestionable in its evil and so intolerable in its seemingly wasteful randomness. Once again we struggle to find answers and once again there are none to be found, none that will explain this. None that will return us to our world of playful games and childhood fantasies. Reality is so cruel as it steals our dreams and leaves us with a hollowness and an ache that we don’t believe will ever heal.
When my children asked, I told them that I don’t understand, and that sometimes, that’s all we are left with. We look at evil and suffering and we cry and we want answers, but none come. So we hold each other close, and cry into our TVs, and hold hands in a nationwide circle of love and understanding knowing that we will always be fighting the battle of good and evil. And sometimes, it isn’t in Mordor, it isn’t in Malfoy Manor – it’s here in our backyard, in our towns, and in our children’s schools.
And we will cry when we see it. We will yell. We will fight.
But the sun will rise again with deafening silence in answer to us.
Because simply put, there are no words. No answers.