Nothing Worse Than Losing a Child

I had called my college-age daughter just to check in. Just to hear her voice. Just to see how she was holding up.

She's a long way from the Virginia Tech campus. But she knew well what happened there. It was all anyone could talk about. All her friends could fret about.

I didn't want to take too much of her time. I was just happy to know she was there. She was safe.

And I thought about other parents, who weren't so lucky. And whose kids weren't so safe. I thought about parents who wanted desperately to hear their child's voice, but could not. And will not.

I cannot imagine what they're going through. Nothing...nothing could be worse than losing a child under any circumstance. But "this" circumstance? "This" random act of butchery? It's against the very order of things.

We count, sadly, on losing parents and older relatives... Those who come before us, not after us. Not the ones to whom we, as parents, have devoted our lives. All those games, all those recitals, all those college visits, all those proms and dates, missing teeth and silly arguments.

I remember a military mom who lost a son in iraq once tell me, clinging to all his letters, "This is all I've got. This and some great memories."

So she clings to the memories.

Regretting not for a moment the memories but having never had the chance to simply say, goodbye.

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