Hug your family. Tell them you love them.
A day spent thinking the unthinkable.
You may have spent your day as I spent mine—reeling from the news of yet another senseless tragedy, 19 children and 2 adults killed in a school shooting in Texas. I’ve spent the time numb, contemplating the terrifying hypothetical, unable to move beyond it.
I dropped my two kids off today, a morning like any other. I waved goodbye to my daughter, on the cusp of turning 8, the same age as Uziyah Garcia, the youngest of the 19 children killed yesterday. We said adios like we do every day: with a hug and a kiss—each time her becoming a fraction more reluctant, especially when friends are within range—and I watched her walk up the ramp to class, laughing with her friends. I then spent the rest of the day envisioning a nightmare scenario—that this might have been the last time I saw her alive. To have said goodbye, not knowing it would be the final time. To have the most important thing in your life ripped from you. To hear the worst possible news, rush to the school, and spend hours waiting, expecting the worst, whilst praying for the best, the creeping dread that your child won’t be one of those who walk out of the door. To have everything—your world, your family, your heart—shattered into a thousand pieces.
Sandy Hook was 10 years ago. Since that day I’ve become a parent twice, so the news weighs heavier today than it did back then. Firearms are now the leading cause of death among US children, and whilst parents feel angry, despondent and overwhelmed, they also feel powerless to change anything. This directly conflicts with our most basic parental instinct—the need to keep our children safe. A parent burying a child goes against the world's natural order, and it’s impossible to comprehend the pain these families will endure now, and the burden of grief they will carry for the rest of their lives.
Angel Garza, whose daughter Amerie Jo Garza turned ten less than a fortnight ago, had a thought for us all: “Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie Jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
My two just arrived home, so I’m sending this and logging off. I’ll be spending the rest of the evening holding them close. Sending love to you and your families today, wherever you are.
You may wish to use this GoFundMe hub to donate funds directly to those affected by this shooting. The New Fatherhood will be back next week.