When a community suffers a calamity such as Newtown, Aurora, Columbine or Virginia Tech there’s a mirror image of the violence has occurred in other parts of the World. Dunblane-Scotland, Carmen Patagones-Argentina, Montreal-Canada and many more suffer the weight of these tragedies. We don’t know these people killed. We know nothing of the killers in comparison to the powerful and devastating aftermath of their acts. We fight to understand and remain without answers.
When a child dies there are ripples sent out like a rock penetrating the once placid surface of a lake. When a child is murdered those ripples gain a tsunami-like proportion as the tally of victims increases with each child murdered. For every child lost there are parents. For every set of parents, there may be brothers and sisters. There may be grandparents; uncles, aunts and cousins and finally there are members of a community suffering the knowledge their child, if spared, may still not be safe in the places where love transmits knowledge for the ages and seeks to protect them in sheltered cloisters.
That would be a school.
Over 16 years ago my world was torn to shreds. My then wife was pregnant and in her ninth month. Our child, a little girl, could have been born at any time.
We were headed home on a frequently traveled route. I was in one car. She was in another. As she drove the lead car we moved into area of noted for lots of accidents before turn lanes and specialized traffic controls were put in place.
I watched in horror as a truck, traveling at high speed entered the intersection she was already entering. It tried to beat her through the intersection. He failed. The collision crushed the front of our car and the air-bags deployed; slamming explosively into her chest and into the space where our child’s 6 pound 8 ounce existence was protected from the normal dangers of life in a normal world.
But the world was no longer normal.
On impact, the laws of physics came sadistically into play. My wife’s body was held in place by an airbag and a seatbelt/shoulder harness. The intra-uterine mass was our child continued forward less than inches; more like centimeters and internal tissues were torn loose. The placenta, the specialized tissue passes the nourishment from a mother to a baby and is necessary to remain intact to complete an uneventful pregnancy, was detached powerfully from the uterine wall starting an internal hemorrhage.
It’s called Abruptio-placentae or an abruption.
After an incompetent ambulance crew argued with my wife that she had wet herself rather than recognizing her amniotic sac was ruptured, we were transported to a hospital where the same incompetent ambulance crew argued they could not remove my wife from their stretcher to the hospital’s bed. It was noted (by fetal monitoring) the baby was in severe distress and jeopardy.
My wife was rushed into the delivery suite where our child was pronounced dead of exsanguination. She’d bled to death in the womb. Her beautiful, perfectly formed and silent body was presented to me to hold. Her weight was six-pounds and eight ounces. She didn’t speak a natal cry. She didn’t coo. She lay silently motionless in my arms and slept while her soul slipped quietly toward God.
Six pounds eight ounces is the heaviest weight I’ll ever carry. I carry it daily. I regularly re-live the crash. I can never escape it.
I also bear a terrible guilt fueled by the unknown; the pain inflamed by the addition of that terrible power sucking a man’s internal strength where he’s wracked with pain for the fact there are no answers to the questions: “WHY… What if… What could I… What should I… How might I have changed things?” There are no answers.
Each parent left behind by their child’s passing lives with these questions; dies with the fact there are no answers. They travel the rest of their lives in a fog until they can move beyond it for a while. Sleep offers no rest because that’s when we’re at our weakest. We’re forced to re-live the episode and suffer the death of our innocent belief children live happily ever after.
The parents of children killed in school violence would stand before the assailant and absorb each bullet rather than allow their child to be hurt. But they’re not allowed to. They suffer the “would have… could have… should have…” of their now impotent lives because they feel they failed to protect their children. The terrible part is it’s all because they’re not allowed to protect their children at school.
The parents’ presence can be a distraction. It can become an interfering presence. It also could allow parents to see regularly how badly the so called “experts” actually do their jobs and protect the children they profess to care about.
All parents want to protect their kids; but when they fail to ward off the assault and fail to save their child, they bare that heaviest weight known to man: the weight of a dead child. It’s that weight crushes our hearts daily.
And still, legislators seek to capitalize on tragedies to legislate their ascension in their colleagues’, and our, eyes. They politicize our agony and try to progress their agendas. They deserve pity more than us.
Thanks for listening.