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For the Parents Who Won’t Be Waiting at the Bus Stop Today

“For the Parents Who Won’t Be Waiting at the Bus Stop Today” originally appeared on Tales of an Educated Debutante under the title, “School Bus,” and was reprinted with permission.

Image Source: Adrian Wood
Image Source: Adrian Wood

Yesterday, 35 children boarded a school bus in Chattanooga, Tennessee and six of them were killed when the bus hit a tree.

Six children.

It’s Thanksgiving this week and six families are planning funerals as the world reminds us all to be thankful.

Thankful for our many blessings; thankful for the people in our lives. But what about these families? The ones who are waking up this morning feeling that crushing awareness that this certainly must all be a bad dream. It’s not though; and they are just beginning the path of grief that will stretch for years to come and forever change the meaning of “Thanksgiving.”

Webster‘s offers a simple definition of the word thankful, as being glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, and anything of, or relating to, an expression of thanks.

Perhaps we can all stand to be reminded to be thankful for those who merely exist in our families this week — even those who we don’t necessarily agree with or see that often, but are still thankful for their very lives.

It’s taken a long time for me to voice the thankfulness I have for my own big brother, the person I adore that ceased to exist over 25 years ago; a death that most profoundly altered my life. As time has manifested, it is his life that has affected me more than his most sorrowful and untimely passing, and I am so thankful for the time and memories that have weighted the scale in my favor.

This year will be a wash I expect for those Tennessee families and their grieving community. They remind me to be thankful for my family and the tiny humans I call my own, who awoke this morning smiling and arguing as they headed off to school.

And this afternoon, as I await the school bus, I’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving and healing for those who will not be waiting.

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