There are no words.
Hanukkah candles lit in memory of all who perished. (Photo by Jill Dulitsky)
And so we need say nothing.
Yet, the horrific tragedy last week calls for us to want to say something … do something … to take the edge off this wrenching grief and disbelief.
Particularly for us.
Because the hand of fate directly touched one of our own beloved members of this circle.
Sophfronia Scott of Newtown, Connecticut sent Tain, her darling third-grade son, to Sandy Hook Elementary School on sunny Friday morning.
Then she went to work — with me on Women on Fire Book 2 where she is the publisher and to take her husband’s car for repair. While at the garage, she noticed police cars streaming by. Then she saw on TV there was a shooting at Tain’s school.
With few details, Sophfronia’s first response was to ask for prayers. And, then the long, what felt interminable, wait to hear if Tain was safe.
If you have been fortunate enough to meet Sophfronia you know what a kind, gentle, honoring soul she is. Devoted to her husband, her son, her family, her church, her town, her work as a writer and publisher, and her role in our community, she is truly one of the most loving, caring and supportive women I know.
In waiting for news about her only child, Sophfronia was comforted when Tain’s godmother Fran, searching for her own two sons, spotted him with his class.
By 11AM Sophfronia learned Tain had been reunited with her husband Darryl in an evacuation area.
“Relief, just sheer relief,” she emailed.
If only the relief for her could have lasted.
Fran’s younger son, Ben — Tain’s god-brother — was unaccounted for. And so began the long night of hoping for the best and knowing the worst.
What unfolded Friday in Newtown, Connecticut is the 9/11 for parents of school-age children. And across the country, and indeed the world, we sat frozen, numb and teary in horror — once again.
As with 9/11, we are devastated, heart-broken, angry and outraged. And, we are called to something deeper, something more profound to correct this terrifying wrong.
Libby Bradford, my cherished, late mother-in-law, a Hospice pioneer and grief expert, used to remind me what remains in life is this: love and caring.
And, so it is with our precious Sophfronia. She was supposed to babysit Ben on Friday night and instead she did what Sophfronia would do. She stood with Ben’s family and others in love and support during unspeakable grief.
And, so it is with Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old Emilie died in the tragedy, when he offered a most extraordinary gesture of love and caring.
He extended his condolences to the family of the killer:
“I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you, and I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well.”
Today Sophfronia did what she always does on Sunday. She taught Sunday school at her church, and I guarantee her students walked away with the comfort that they are loved and cared about.
If you are like me, you want to be able to do something to make things better. We can.
Who right now needs love? Who needs your shoulder? A pot of soup? A few extra dollars? Who is having a tough time that you can give help and comfort to?
In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, we will keep the vigil to love and care for those in Newtown, Connecticut, and we’ll offer ways we can do that as a community.
For now, please keep Sophfronia, her loved ones and community surrounded in your love and caring and prayers. She is a deeply spiritual person and she will feel it!
And, I wish for you a gentle holiday season. One that finds you at peace with your family and loved ones.
I’d like to close by sharing this beautiful passage that Women on Fire member Jill Dulitsky of Vernon, Connecticut and a mom of two young children sent today. It was sung at her Synagogue in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.
Not By Might
Not by might and not by power,
but by spirit alone shall we all live in peace.
The children sing. The children dream.
And their tears may fall, but we’ll hear them call
and another song will rise, another song will rise,
another song will rise. (Zechariah 4:6)
I wish you peace. I wish you comfort.