(Brian's Memorial Garden, July 2011. Garden upgraded by his friends and colleagues.)
The elementary school shootings in Newtown brought it home to all of us.
Life is a journey with many shadowy curves. Not one of us can predict how it will go, which curve will be too sharp to navigate, which event will be too heavy to bear, where we will crash and burn, where we will tower with understanding and compassion.
This kind of tragedy is unbearable and unthinkable.
Yet, what happens after a tragedy can help you navigate the road to your destination; or, it can leave you shattered. When you have suffered so, the mind wants to process, cancel it, remove it, obliterate all signs. The mind and the will want what they can't have: cancel the event.
Accepting the event, absorbing its impact, means unbearable pain.
A circle of love and compassion needs to stay for as long as needed. Days, weeks, months, years. The victims need to know that they are not alone; that what they feel is real and needs to be uttered. Crying and talking, crying and talking will occur for days and weeks and months. Years later, a similar event experienced in a movie, a song, will bring back all the same feelings.
When I lost my son last year, it was this circle of friends, who called, visited, prepared the house, arranged things, build a memorial garden in my son's name, build a memory walk with loving messages, all these actions helped us feel not alone in our grief.
To the children of Newtown, to the families who are suffering a loss, know that you are not alone; that your grief is felt in our hearts; that the whole nation is in pain. May you find a candle of comfort in this knowledge.