The Gift of Love During a Time of Sadness

Yesterday I tended to a sick 4-year old grandson. He didn’t wake until 11:30 am. He coughed and was listless. He tugged on his ear. I took him to the doctors to find he had an ear infection and a lung infection. He was really hurting.

Sometime after he woke and after Shrek and Max and Ruby videos, I had a glimpse of live television and found out about the mass shootings in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. All these beautiful children and teachers – all in the right place, doing what they were supposed to be doing and dying in an instant.

I didn’t leave the TV on because it would have held me captive. I didn’t want to explain to my 4-year old why 5-year olds were dead. So, it wasn’t until the evening news that I saw an image of a young woman holding a phone wild with grief as she learned her sister (a teacher) was one of the dead.

My thoughts wandered to all my teacher friends and how their lives would be affected if this happened to them. My thoughts slowly went to my son … a first grade teacher and my world crumbled.  I was a total mess.

Now I was in their shoes. Now I understood their grief and anger. Now, unlike that woman in the photo – I was able to pick up the phone and let my son know how much he mattered, how much he was loved, how much I missed him.

When I called my son, the conversation was all one-sided. It was me doing all the talking, non-stop, words tumbling all over the airwaves …remembering past deaths, sadnesses, and hurts. It was me recounting the one thing I failed to do after each death – to stand together and talk about it. To cry together. To hug together. To speak the words of loss, love, longing, and all those things that bind you to other humans.

I asked him to do that with his friends and teachers. I asked him to address the topic with others who went home to an empty house. He said he would.

My gifts to all of you today are love and communication. Let’s keep the conversation going about this topic and if you want to talk, write me and we can talk offline.  (

With love – Margekatherine