Earlier this week, our community was hit with a horrific and seemingly avoidable tragedy. Four small children lost their father. A young, vital, loving woman lost her husband, partner. I say “seemingly avoidable” because from where I sit, it appears as such. But what do I know? What do any of us know? No one is in your skin but you. And while I am removed enough to not know specifics, I am also close enough to know this impacts my children, their classmates, our family, our community. We are all close enough to feel deep pain, confusion, sorrow, even anger and to know we must now band together to support our friends. And we will.

My husband saw this news before I did and he called me. I was glad he did. I had a chance to begin to process it before my kids got home from school, to call a friend and cry, to reach out in my way. We decided to wait and let our older son hear it at school, with his peers. The news is only relevant to him and not his younger brother. Also, my mother and her husband arrived last night; the children were counting down the arrival with the oven timer, standing watch at the window. It was a joyous occasion in our home, hectic, exciting, not the time to raise the issue. I held it, thought about it, talked with my husband, felt it. And, I felt sad for the family, grateful for what I have, guilty for the relief, and many other things.  I still do, I still will. As it is with tragedy comes introspection, and often gratitude, appreciation, perspective.

“Don’t it always seem to go,

That you don’t know what you’ve got

Till it’s gone.”

It’s not just a song about parking lots.

Last night, after the grandparent activity, new microscopes with which to look at orange peels and pennies, new books to read, baths to be taken, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as story-reader by my youngest son. I had expected it to be Grandma, as did she and she was disappointed, but my kids know what they need. I read him stories, had special time with him, and found that he had a motive for choosing me. He’d had a bad dream the night before and needed to talk about it, needed reassurance. We boiled it down to the fact that there were no robbers in our house, the doors were locked, we were safe and he didn’t have to fear getting up for a drink of water. He dreamed he had done so and a robber intercepted him. He’d been scared but Daddy punched the robber in the nose, so that was good. Still, he had some lingering feelings.

At 3 a.m. last night, I awoke to hear very soft sobbing. It was my little one, my five year old. He wasn’t hysterical, just gently crying. I went in and asked what was wrong. “I just want a drink of water Momma and I can’t get up to get one.” He was still afraid. Of course, I got him some water and we talked about how he was safe in his own home. As I lay there with him, knowing I could go back to my own bed, not wanting the moments of comfort, for him — and as it turns out for me as well— to end, I realized how he completed our family in such a perfect way.

Something he said, something about the way he reached his little arm over me and looked in to my eyes just clicked for me. I’ve thought it before, I’ve felt it before, but last night was stronger, different. Of course, in part, I was raw from the news of earlier. And, as he grows in to himself, his personality, I continue to marvel at who he is. I love him so deeply, as I love my other son, but of course not the same because they are not the same. And I said to Lucas, “You know, before we had you, when Theo was a baby and it was just him and me and Daddy, we were like a puzzle with a missing piece. And then we had you and our puzzle was complete.” He smiled and kissed me. “I love you Momma.” And I just felt it, stronger than I’ve felt anything in a long time. This puzzle I have been trying to solve, these pieces I have been desperate to fit together. They are now one.


  1. Linda Keeney says:


    This is a beautiful story birthed out of a tragety it seems. Loved reading it.

    Miss you.
    Linda K.


  2. Thank you Linda. It does seem beauty comes out of tragedy sometimes, or at least we become more aware that it has been there all along. Miss you too.


  3. Jenny, I should go to your blog more often. I always feel so grateful for your words that I cannot express so eloquently myself. I am so sorry to hear about this tragedy. Life is so much about the yin and the yang. I feel for your pain and this family’s pain too. I am going to go kiss my sweet sleeping boys right now.


  4. heartwriter says:

    Thank you for sharing your puzzlement so beautifully.


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