This kills me. My child has uttered these words in tears so often over the past 7 or 8 months. He is eight and a half years old and most days he is a happy kid just doing his happy kid thing. But there are other days when he is lost and my heart breaks for him.
Two separate tragedies, six lives. A whole community crushed.
I hold him close, trying not to cry. "Mommy and Daddy do everything they can to stay safe. You will always be well cared for, we have made sure of this."
Over and over he asks me to make a promise, one that I can not make. He asks this of me each time the sadness visits, as if the answer will change, desperate for a different answer. I have not come right out and said that it is a promise I can't make, but I don't have to because he knows this. It is why he asks, I'm sure of this.
Until now, death was something that had happened to Great Grandma. She was 95, her heart stopped working. She had lived a full and amazing life and had willingly left us to be with Great Grandaddy and God in Heaven. We talk about her all the time, we look at pictures of her and remember finding acorns in the woods surrounding her house. My son has a collection of those acorns and treasures them. Each time I come across one, I hold it in my hand and feel alive and grateful. She is with us all the time. This is death as it should be to a child, he remembers her, he loves her and she is where she is meant to be.
And now? My heart aches, my eyes sting. I am mourning the loss of those who left us before their time. I weep for the loss of my child's innocence. I miss my own friend and am haunted by the emails I still have filed away. I hear her voice and see her face when I read them.
I've spent the winter in a fog, a dull grey place. Outwardly I am fine. Inside I feel bad, so bad. I feel guilt. Guilty because there are others who are wounded more deeply than I and when I put myself in their place I gasp for air. There is a burning sensation in my chest, it varies in size as the day goes on but it is always there, a constant reminder of something I must not forget.
We go on. Changed. Different. My son at age eight, knowing death, loss, fear, pain and anger. How is that possible? Do I dare to ask why? WHY?
I am surrounded by beauty and am blessed in so many ways. I both fear and crave freedom from the veil that clouds my view. How do I hold on and let go at the same time?