Eulogy For The Children of Newtown

Mono Lake, considered one of the loneliest places on Earth.

I cannot imagine writing a eulogy for my child.

When I hesitantly turned on the news yesterday, that is what assaulted me: a mother’s last words to the six-year-old son she was leaving.

As the images of his life flashed on the screen, I quickly left the room.  I would share her grief, her sorrow her tears.  But I cannot imagine doing what she had to do.

The community of motherhood grieves in solidarity after the Newtown school shootings.  Not one of us who has held our child, nursed them through illness, consoled them through sadness, beamed with them through happiness, or cradled them with love, can help but share the pain, the agony, and the devastation that twenty mothers in Connecticut are crawling through every day for the rest of their lives.

And we feel the guilt, too.  

Each time my thirteen-year-old son hugs me, I feel it.

When my sixteen-year-old daughter kisses me goodnight, I feel it.

When I crack open their bedroom doors in the darkness, just to see if they’re breathing, I feel it.

My dear friend, writer Dawn Wink, expressed it this way on her blog, Dewdrops:

“ I immediately envisioned the intricate lace of a spider web, glistening with dew in the morning sun. I thought of the strength and tension of these gossamer strands and how the slightest movement or touch anywhere on the web sends waves of vibration through its entirety. How very like life. The web of each of our lives, interwoven and connected. I think of the web of my own life and relationships – of how often I have felt the vibrations of each movement on each strand. Whether they are vibrations of joy or pain, they affect the whole, ultimately collecting a lifetime of experiences.”

I will feel it on Christmas morning, on the last day of high school and the first day they go to college.  I will feel it on their birthdays, on Halloween, and when they walk down the aisle.  I will feel it when they win a race and lose a friend, when they sing along to the radio and when we savor a sweet chocolate chip cookie made together with love.

I will feel it because it didn’t just happen to them – it happened to all of us.

The fear of watching my children walk away is constant; there is never a time when they leave me that I don’t worry.  Irrational? Maybe.  But in today’s world, in my mind, it only takes an instant.  There is no longer protection in the ‘it won’t happen to me’ world; there is simply randomness, the unexplainable, the irrational.  It could happen to me.  I’m not that special.

There’s a reason I’m called mamawolfe.

Protecting and nurturing my children flows through me with uncontrollable strength.  It fills my days as a teacher and my nights as a mother, consuming any sense of relaxation into dedicating my life to make it better.  Irrational? Maybe.

I have a clear understanding of the need to let my babies go, to trust they will come back.  I clearly comprehend the need to stand next to them as they make their mistakes, take their chances, and find their dreams.  

I whisper daily prayers to the darkness, hoping the universe is listening.  I ask for protection, for comfort, for the universe to fold over our children and take them in.  I breathe a ‘thank you’ as my words are answered, and take my gratitude for everyday life with me.

I have had eleven more years of gratitude than many of the mothers in our web.  I get another day, another Christmas, another morning.  

I feel the vibrations, their howls of anguish.  I know the wetness of their tears and the firmness of the arms around us, holding on for fear of crumpling into the wet earth.  I see the pain, the sorrow, and the fear.  

I just cannot imagine writing it.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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3 thoughts on “Eulogy For The Children of Newtown

  1. Kenna says:

    Beautifully expressed. As mothers, we are all here to protect, guide, nurture, love. How could any of us feel anything less than what you have just expressed. Thank you for sharing.

  2. […] made it no secret how I feel about guns and violence. I’ve written about every mass shooting in schools since I started this blog. I’ve shared my fears and my anger over and over, both here and on […]

  3. […] I started writing about school shootings shortly after I started publishing this blog in 2011, and sadly, they haven’t stopped. In February 2012, I wrote for Yahoo news on the Washington state school shooting. On December 19, 2012, I shared my tears for the families of Newtown, and then three days later  I wrote a eulogy for the children of Newtown. […]

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