It’s Only Words…

Purposeful Parent Tip: Speak words of love to your children, even when it’s hard.

About 48 hours ago, the unthinkable happened. A crazed young man went on a shooting rampage in a town less than an hour from me. His actions resulted in the death of nearly 30 people, 20 of them children under the age of 7. Horror, grief, confusion, anger, emptiness have filled the hearts and minds of those of us who learned of this tragedy. Many of us still wondering why. But there is no good “why”.

If he was mentally unstable, does that excuse his actions? If he was on drugs, does that make it make more sense? Are we able to deal with it any better if we know why? No. Not in my opinion. The why only serves to help us better understand an incomprehensible act but does nothing to ease our broken hearts or comfort the loved ones of those who died.

I can’t take credit for the theme of today’s post. Credit belongs to a friend of mine who posted a Facebook message that has stuck with me. She noted that she was wondering what the final words or actions were of the parents or caregivers of those children killed in this tragedy. What did they say as they dropped them off to school that fateful day?

Whatever they were – good or bad, they can’t take them back. For those who had a positive experience, perhaps their hearts and minds feel a tiny bit better knowing that the last thing their child heard was “Have a good day. I love you honey.” Those who perhaps in the stress of the morning drop-off said something like “Hurry up, you’ll be late” or something negative – may be wishing they’d said something else.

I am hoping and praying that these parents, already filled with more grief than a body can bear, are not adding to their grief with feelings of guilt over their parting words to their child that day. I pray that they know their child forgot them in a few minutes and was already thinking of their day ahead or better still, when they’d return home to mom or dad.

We live in a fast-paced society. We talk fast. We move fast. We’re always in a hurry. So many times, we hear people saying, “Oh..I just wasn’t thinking.” But then regret the consequences of that lapse in judgement.

I’m guilty too. I talk faster than I think. I react too quickly to situations. My words are not always kind. I am working on this. I am working on it daily. Because as a writer, I know that words are powerful. They have the ability to lift you up and inspire you as well as bring you so far down, you can’t get up.

The parents in Newtown, CT suffering today and likely for a long time to come cannot take back the words they spoke but those of us who mourn with them can become more mindful of our own words and actions to our children and loved ones. We can put a virtual piece of tape on our mouths when we feel unkind or angry words making their way up. We can stop for that brief second before we respond and question if our words will hurt or heal.

We can make sure that our loved ones know that we love them. We can apologize quickly when we hurt them. We can let go of petty differences that drive us apart. In essence, we can love…unconditionally.

My heart breaks for the parents of those little babies and their families.  When I heard the news, I sobbed as if they were my own. I sent out the most enormous hug to people I did not know and tried to comfort them by some magical “beam me up Scotty” embrace.

There are no perfect words to comfort these people today. None. All I can do is hold them close in my thoughts and prayers. All I can do is continue to send out my virtual hugs to maybe take a bit of the pain away.

God bless all of the families of Newtown, CT. May you find peace in the days to come. May you be surrounded and receive the love that is being poured out to you from all over the world. May you know that your children will always be with you…always. For their love for you will never die.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2011-2024