The news of this mass shooting has been filling my mind and heart all morning. As I did the laundry. While I walked the dogs. On my run. Visions and thoughts in my imagination probably only a fraction as horrible as the reality some are facing right now.
At lunch I sat across from my daughter and I watched her eat soup. Messily, happily, hungrily eating her soup. Unaware of how awful everything can be. Unaware of how close I was watching her. Her tiny hand, her sparkling eyes, her wispy hair. Taking her in, marveling in her wonder, loving as I do every day but trying to be just a little more mindful today for those who can’t sit across a table from their child anymore.
I can’t bring myself to think of what would happen to me if something happened to her, but it’s wrenching enough to think of the parents who are grieving right now. Of the brothers, the sisters, the grandmothers and grandfathers. But mostly the mothers. Because I’m a mother, and those mothers are my sisters.
Mothers who cradled their babies in their first moments and breathed them in and held them close and loved them so hard even when they were impetuous toddlers, even when they were tired, even at 3 in the morning, even when it wasn’t easy. Mothers who loved their children, imperfectly and perfectly all at once, all day, every day.
And everyone shouts gun control and mental health and second amendment and they are right and they are wrong and we need to talk about this. But I can only hear the wails of mothers broken apart by the bullets. For no reason, none at all, and now there is the heaviest pain I can imagine crushing down on all that love.
And I brought myself to think about how every mother who lost a child today is thinking how that child was her baby, her baby, HER baby. Her baby, whether 5 or 10 years had passed, always her baby. How if I died today, my mom would be thinking of me not as a 31-year-old woman, but as a newborn in her arms pulling on her heart in a way she didn’t know her heart could stretch. And I cried. And my heart broke. All while she ate a bowl of soup.