It’s the question on everyone’s mind today as we grapple with the Connecticut school shootings.
Why innocent kids? This follows on the heels of the first.
When the mind is confronted with a tragedy of this magnitude, there are more questions than answers.
And yet “Why?” seldom brings closure. It rarely helps us tie up all the loose ends. It cannot even begin to touch the human anguish that follows in the wake of a senseless loss…or, in this case, total devastation.
I believe the spirits of the twenty children and six adults whose human lives were erased in a matter of minutes would like us to pause. Reflect. Contemplate. Move up a notch or two on the scale of consciousness.
To my mind, “What?” is a better question to ask when “Why?” has exhausted its possibilities, and also you.
What are we meant to learn from this?
What is our response in this moment?
What must we do next?
I think of the moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers whose hearts will never, ever beat the same again.
What were the last words of a child as she waved goodbye that morning?
Did a dad remember to say “I love you” before he dropped off his second-grader to school that morning?
Was a mom upset with her daughter’s choice of clothes that day?
Trivial moments, trivial choices. And yet, it is these moments and messages that become significant milestones in ways we never imagined.
Think about it. How often we utter a casual “bye” to our children, our fingers and minds occupied with an all-too-important text message?
Do we take a precious moment to look into our partner’s eyes and speak the words “I love you” with true feeling as they’re leaving for work? Or, has it become one more perfunctory habit, as mundane and monotonous as teeth-brushing?
A goodbye is a luxury. Not all of us get to say it. It is the quality of the goodbyes they said that those Connecticut parents will obsess over now. Not whether their child’s homework was all done or their clothes color-coordinated.
So, if there’s one lesson we can walk away with, I invite you to consider this one. Never, ever take your loved ones for granted. Don’t delude yourself that they’re going to be around forever…or you. Value the moments. Cherish what’s right here, right now. Don’t put off that call you need to make today. Write that long-overdue email/letter so someone can read your words before it’s too late.
When all is said and done, that is all that really matters. It is all that ever has.
Make a change now. If you’re holding onto a grudge, let it go. Make up. Forgive. Tell the truth. Own up. Embrace the people you care about.
Choose peace over being right. Choose to stay connected instead of isolating yourself. Reach out. Love. Care and share.
Death comes when it must. It doesn’t always arrive with a warning. Don’t let the forgotten goodbye or apology be the regret you live with.
Visit www.umagirish.com for a copy of my book Understanding Death: 10 Ways to Inner Peace for the Grieving which gives you more tools to make peace with the agony that accompanies the passing of a loved one.
So true, Ums! Had tears in my eyes when I read this! Very touching!
The whole nation is weeping for those poor kids and the brave adults who sacrificed their lives. But through those tears we must search for a deeper truth.
Very nice article Uma. It is true that we need to live each day as if its the last one. Cherish every moment and value the relationships we have. Often we leave the important things to be done at a later date and get caught up with what’s really not important. We then have a life time of regrets to live with.
That’s exacty right, Ivy. Most of us obsess with what we wouldn’t bother about at all if we knew how much time we really had. We would then focus on what is truly important…and in the end, it always comes to human relationships and Love. Knowing that we loved well is knowing that we lived well.
Very well written, the words just seem to pour straight from the heart and that is the reason it reaches and touches others too! Kudos to your literary skills! It was indeed a good write up and as I have mentioned to Vidu, I shall be following your blog, henceforth!
Life and death, sides of the same coin; but ask a person who is alive, as to what it means to him/her to have lost a beloved one! The senseless act of one man, deprived so many of the very people around whom their world revolved! As mentioned by you..there may have been so many things, the people they left behind, may be wondering and thinking and wishing, that had they the chance, they would have said their last goodbye, or indeed paid heed to what their child may have said or done or things they wished they had!!
Thanks, Shilpa, for your kind words. Death is hard, no matter what guise it arrives in. But when our loved ones are so heinously plucked from our midst, the pain is especially raw. Pray for the spirits that are gone from this planet and reach out to someone who is still here…before its too late.
Completely in agreement to what you say..I am doing the very thing you have mentioned..pray! I will continue doing so! You keep the words flowing! You have one person for sure, who will be following your posts! 🙂
Love your enthusiastic support 🙂 Thanks, always!