A Letter to the Grieving Parents in Newtown, CT

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I wear my heart outside my body when it comes to my children. It’s crazy dangerous, I know… but it’s WORTH IT to me. It’s worth it to love my two sons this hard and whole and true. I think it’s like this for all the individuals in this world who have risked becoming parents. Which is why my heart is so heavy for the parents who lost part of their hearts last week in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.

Dear parents of Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison:

I have a son that (if we lived in your community) would have probably been in your child’s class. That is all that we have in common and yet, it is enough for me to be crying here at my desk on your behalf. I am not suggesting that I know your pain, because I don’t. I have never lost a child. I am just a mother who knows that the worries of this world feel like nothing compared to the task we have been given of keeping the little lives we parent safe. These little lives (that our hearts beat outside our bodies for) are our entire world, no matter what our day job is. I know you are your child’s greatest protector, which is why I want to remind you that this is not your fault.

When you have to let their physical bodies go and you can’t go with them.

This is not your fault.

When you see Christmas presents under the tree wrapped just for them.

This is not your fault.

When you ache with your whole being just to see them again.

This is not your fault.

When your other children cry themselves to sleep.

This is not your fault.

I know you are experiencing a pain so bright and radiating that the realness of it pressing in makes you long for just one second free of it. I wish with you that you didn’t have to continue your lives without them. This, I am sure, is a task much harder than the one you previously had of protecting them. You are now a new kind of parent. One who longs to hear your child’s voice again while parents all around you say “shush” to theirs. Your bravery astounds me. Barely anyone can understand the depth of your pain, and yet we all expect you to keep on living, even though your sky has just fallen. It is a lot to ask since you know a version of life that everyone else hopes they never have to.

It is unfair that your loss makes me want to love harder, hug longer, and dance more often. I am not the perfect mother. Not by a long shot. Sometimes I shout. Sometimes frustration clouds my vision. Sometimes I act just as immaturely as my kids do. That your loss should be my reminder to love better is heart-wrenchingly unfair. Thank you for continuing. For breathing in and out when the rest of us have no clue how hard that is for you. Thank you for putting one foot in front of the other even when it seems impossible to stand. I stand with you in heart and being and prayer. My six year old is laughing with his daddy and making pancakes in the kitchen, and I wish with every ounce of me that yours was, too.

Read more from Kristy at Long Miles Coffee Project . For daily updates of her adventures in Africa, be sure to follow her on FacebookTwitter and especially Instagram. 

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