One of our necessary beliefs is that children are safe in school with their teachers. One of the reassurances we make to our little ones is that nothing bad will ever happen in Kindergarten.
Today a small community in Connecticut saw those beliefs shattered as eight adults and 20 children were violently killed.
What do you say when children are killed?
The most realistic answer, I have found is given by author, Charlie Walton, a father who himself lost his two sons in one night. What Charlie Walton urges friends, family and loved ones to understand is that when children die – there are no words. Words are insufficient to explain what has happened.
In his powerful little book When There are No Words: Finding Your Way to Cope with Loss and Grief, he clarifies that in the first hours and days of such loss, there is nothing he could say to himself and nothing that anyone else could say to him to make it right. There is nothing right about the death of children.
While the violent loss in Connecticut has broken hearts and stolen words – it does not take away the connections and power of loved ones to ease and help contain pain. We have learned through trauma outreach that the most viable sources of response are the familiar networks of support.
- The family, friends, and neighbors who just show up to take care of the daily needs of those grieving.
- The parents whose bond to each other helps them walk together through this nightmare
- The Moms and Dads who in holding their big and small children closer, with or without words, reduce the horror of what was experienced, witnessed or even seen on the media.
- The Spiritual Caregivers whose presence affords a safe haven for many.
This is an unfathomable tragedy of loss by so many. A nation watches in tears. A nation hopes that the families feel their collective support.