Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 12/15/2012

Our hearts go out to Newtown parents, family, friends

Twenty young children died in Newtown, Connecticut in this single day. Tonight and in the days and weeks and years ahead, a stunned and grieving community will grapple with the aftermath of this great tragedy, and even as most of us prepare for bed, a dark history is being written and edited.

Unless your child also died in a mass murder (such as the Oklahoma bombings, etc.), the loss for these parents is different than your tragedy and my tragedy, because when these children died, the entire world did stop and take notice. It is different from your tragedy and my tragedy, if you are not inside that circle, because these bereaved parents can look around and easily identify a cluster of other grieving parents who do understand — in real time, right now — what they are going through, who don’t have to “imagine it” because they are living the nightmare alongside them.

And it is different than your tragedy and my tragedy, most likely, because at the same time they are trying to cope with the death of their own child, they also are grieving the other children lost — children they knew, too — and they are grieving for the adult victims of the horrific and unexplained depraved violence today, too.

For the families of the 26 people who died today — including the shooter — stories of precious lives abruptly ended amidst hopes of Christmas and the sounds of gunshots. Surviving family members are now left to puzzle out the script of “everything that comes after”.

Regardless of the differing circumstances, we bereaved parents do understand the contradictions and complexity of what is about to happen to the surviving family members and friends, and what is, in fact, unfolding now. Right now, sleepless, exhausted parents are wondering how their child could have died today while they, themselves, were drinking a cup of coffee, starting laundry, working at a normal Friday task or job, or perhaps sleeping. Some of them are thinking that if only they had kept a child home. If only, if only, if only. But there was no “if only” grace allowed today… and now, this week, many will pick out a child-sized casket rather than a last-minute holiday gift. That’s the hardest truth of all.

And (remember this part?) these grieving people will ask themselves, over and over, how a Friday morning could begin like normal, without a hint of what was to come, and end… and end!? We all — even people who have never suffered the loss of any loved one personally — we all well understand that today was the end of the world as these families knew it “before”.

Likely you watched television news reports like I did today, with god-like compassion born of unconditional love and support for the survivors. Unlike news announcers who repeat that they “can’t imagine what the families are going through”, we can.

Our prayers are with you, Newtown. Our tears are for Newtown parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, classmates, and other loved ones. And maybe you will join me in whispering to them all tonight, in prayer or in promise, “we are with you.” There is no need for us to shout; there are too many shouting voices now for any clear message to be heard. But when the time is right, your message will be felt and your love known.

I believe, I do, that our hope for their healing and strength will prevail, because in the face of real endings, love and hope of healing is all we have to offer.

Thanks for joining me at The Watering Hole. Your comments are appreciated.


  1. I don’t know how you can say that as grieving parents we don’t understand what they are going through. When I first heard this happened the flash backs of that day that my 17 year old daughter passed on. No, she wasn’t murdered but she did complete suicide. I found her hanging on the back of her bedroom door and we suffer now from PTSD and can’t work. No matter how our children died it’s not natural and it hurts beyond belief. I heart goes out to those people because I do understand what they went through. I couldn’t see my daughter after screaming and running out of the house until 6 days later in the coffen. That is what the parents are experiencing too, I could go on how the parents feel. May the Lord be with them and all grieving mothers at this time.

  2. Hello, Joy. I think if you read a little more slowly, you’ll see that the sentiment I expressed was that we DO understand. The circumstances are different — that was the point of it not being the same — but the understanding and empathy and knowing what the parents were feeling and what was happening to them is definitely what we bring to the table as grieving parents. I agree with you 100% (and I think you agree with me :). I’m so sorry for your loss of a daughter and the horrible circumstances you’ve faced. It is hell. And from one grieving mother to another, may the Lord be with us all.

    • My heart goes out to all 27 familes..I know their pain i too had my heart ripped out…Yes different circumstances same result………My son has gone, Love and miss you Tony xxx

  3. It is a horrifying way to lose a child and my heart breaks for all of them. It is not a natural thing for a parent to lose a child and your life is altered forever. Unless you have lost a child you have no idea of the sadness and heartache one has to learn to live with. It is something you never get over.

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