Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the midst of celebrating, stopping to grieve

Our home is bustling and busy as we celebrate Hanukkah and prepare for my mother's arrival tonight and for the celebration of Christmas; everything around us light and joy. I was going to come here to write a fluffy little post about our gift-giving and gratitude and excitement for the season, but never find the time.

And then, Girl Wonder at my breast and in a moment of maternal calm, I skim through the day's headlines and read about the events in Peshawar yesterday. 132 children left for school in the morning and didn't come home. It makes me feel sick to read on but I do, because at the very least, I feel the need to bear witness. When such events take place close to home we all stop and think and mourn, but when they take place far away (perhaps because we 'expect' them in such foreign and far away places?), we often stay silent, shake our heads sadly, but simply move on.

And that makes it all the more important for me that we bear witness. Because as vastly different as our lives and experiences and beliefs may be, and even the dimensions of our personal tragedy, there is some universal kernel in this loss. My heart breaks when I read the sad, beautiful words of one father who says 'My son was my dream. My dream has been killed', because a small part of me feels that too, and because I now know the gift of new dreams.

I am not really a pray-er, but such as they are, I offer my prayers nonetheless, that those parents, those families, those communities know some small comfort in the days ahead. First and foremost because I wish that for them, but also because (however naive it sounds) I want to raise my daughter not in a world where we shake our heads and then move on, but which recognizes that despite differences we all love and we all grieve. We all celebrate and mourn. Some human experiences are universal. Each life, no matter where it is lived or ends, is equally valuable.

I don't really know that this post has a 'point', other than to stop and acknowledge. In the midst of our celebrating this week I will take moments to mourn for the families of those 132 children. I will seek to honour those young lives. I will light a candle against the dark. It is nothing, but it is all I have.


  1. Thank you for this post. I have been kind of at a loss after this tragedy, and one thing that has struck me is how little attention it has received. More than 100 children dead! I realize that thousands of children probably die every day due to various reasons, but this seems so monumental that the world should stop and at least ask itself why? But that does not seem to be happening.

  2. Ugh. Reading about this fills me with rage. Just rage. I can't reconcile the murder of children with anything. Can't help but think of Bruce Cockburn's If I Had a Rocket Launcher. (Which is as far as I'd go. I'm not a violent person. Although if I was within reach of one of those murderers...)

  3. What a tragedy! I too have had these events on my mind a lot the last few days.... this post was so well written and reading it helped me to organize my feelings about it a bit better, so thanks for writing about it.

  4. It's truly tragic for this senseless act. Children should never, ever be a target. And yet we sadly live in a world where people are twisted enough to view these acts as necessary.

    My thoughts are with these families and I hope soon for a world where violence like this ceases to exist.


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