As a writer, I am often overflowing with words. I have stories to tell and thoughts stir within my mind until I have just enough of the right words put together. Like a strand of pearls or a neatly crocheted blanket, I craft my tale and then move these hand picked phrases from beginning to end until they explode onto the page through my #2, black, Ticonderoga pencil.
Today I feel as though my words have stalled, my thoughts are tired, and my heart is aching. My heart breaks not for the imprisoned story, which has befallen me, but for what has happened in my small community in which I live.
My town is a small community; just fewer than 4,100 people reside here. We have one school that educates our children from pre-K through the eighth grade. Teachers are different from when I went to school they are now my friends. Friends whom you trust to take your child and love them through good grades, poor choices, and gym class (without deodorant). Neighbor helps neighbor and we have settled in to a quiet, peaceful routine where saying hello, as you pass, is not just polite…it’s appreciated.
The past few years have been hard on most of us but devastating to a handful of families. Three families in our community have lost the most precious piece of life, the greatest gift of love…their children. Jenna Smith, friend and classmate of my youngest, passed in 2010; she was brave and beautiful, and just shy of her 10th birthday. More recently James Trainor, a truly remarkable child who loved to hug and never failed to make you feel special, and only a few days ago Joe Kelly who played (and excelled) at many sports, rarely did he not smile and encourage those around him.
I have found myself leaning on my small community - my friends. I attempt to grasp some understanding, but fail. I ask why, but don’t receive the answer that I want to hear. I want to be angry but I don’t have anyone I can scream at to make it stop.
Motherhood is a universal understanding, a bond that knows no boundary. And I believe there isn’t a mother that does not weep for the losses our friends, and our own children, are feeling now.
I have found strength in my friends, the teachers of my children, my community. I have found some sense of peace in hug or in the words of another who is as confused and as sad as I am. I find comfort when memories are shared and stories are told even when the right words elude me.
I pray that quiet and calm is found for all, but mostly I pray the families of those who have passed find peace. Often times our greatest strength is found in our weakest moments...we simply need to get through them.