I have been struggling. With a deep grief and overwhelming feeling of helplessness.
My mother and I took my older girls (Dylan and Summer) to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular on Saturday morning. I couldn’t believe all the happiness going on around us. I wanted to yell at the tourists taking pictures in front of over sized Christmas decorations, “Don’t you know that 20 precious children died. Just because they went to school. How can you smile? How can any of us smile?!”
But instead, I watch the Rockettes, followed by the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center and then I tell my girls…
“We are going to light a candle at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.”
“Why do we have to do that? We’re Jewish,” they respond.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or I’m Christian or what religion anyone is. There are people suffering in this world and we need to light a candle for them and send them our prayers.”
“What does suffering mean?” asks Dylan.
“It means they are feeling a great great sadness. And it’s our duty to help hold them up in any way we can.”
And as I light a candle, Dylan and Summer began arguing. Summer is upset she can’t light a candle on her own and Dylan is lighting more than one and that’s not fair and…
I feel annoyance rise up in me because can’t they sense the gravity of this even if they don’t know what happened in Newtown?! But then gratitude sweeps over me. Because what an honor to have squabbling siblings in the middle of St. Patrick’s Cathedral when there are 20 families in Connecticut who wish they could once again hear that familiar banter between siblings.
There is little that has brought me solace over the last few days as I think about those lost souls. I want to bring those amazing children and loving adults back. I want to take away the pain from their family members.
Shari is right when she says, “If we could take away even a fragment of your pain, take it on ourselves, spread it out amongst us so that it wasn’t so overwhelming for you, I know so many of us that would.”
So we do what we can. We can give money to the funds set up in memory of these children. We can demand gun control so this cycle of violent madness ends instead of continuing to escalate. We can show the world that our country is not owned by the gun lobby but rather, we are owned by our love for our children and we will do anything we can to protect them.
As the President said, we must “make our country worthy of their memory.”
So let’s begin.