Tag Archives: grief

Ringo Good Cat Angel with Fur

Dear Readers,

Ringo has been gone now a little over 26 hours. I just cleaned out her litter box and completely broke down crying. The house is empty without her.

One of the first pics of Ringo, May 1999.
One of the first pics of Ringo, May 1999 at 5 weeks old.

Our announcement about Ringo to friends and family,
written yesterday 10/1/2014:

January 2006 at age 7, photo by Ari Halberstadt
January 2006 at age 7, photo by Ari Halberstadt

Ringo Halberstadt Turits Good Cat

Born, exact date unknown, March 1999
Joined Andy & Elana on May 2, 1999
Died Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Our Dear Sweet Angel Cat, Ringo left this planet at around 10:30 am this morning. 
She was 15 years and 7 months old.

Ringo was born in Hoboken, NJ and rescued by Eileen “Honey” O’Leary. We were truly blessed to have luck put us right there to pass by a friend, who called us over and said, “Guys, you’ve got to come see these kittens!” Andy and I found her there when she was approximately five weeks old. We brought her home and she became an essential part of our family. We have loved Ringo every day since and she has loved us.

Ringo died peacefully and with us holding her paws and touching her beautiful fur. 
The last things she saw were our faces and hands. The last words she heard were 
“We love you. You are a good cat. Thank you, Ringo.”

We talked about arriving at the Rainbow Bridge. We envisioned for her an open field with wildflowers, bugs and butterflies to catch, and a sunny spot of sun for her to be in always.

Grace and Peace to Our Beloved, Ringo, our Love Angel Cat of Destiny and Healing Paws. We miss you dearly, terribly, and we are heartbroken. But we’re also immensely relieved that you are free of pain. Your infinite, kind spirit and soul are already working in mysterious ways to help us through.

Yesterday Max said: “Ringo’s work here is done. She has achieved all her life goals. So now, she can rest.”

This afternoon, after we told him the news, he looked up to the sky and waved, “Hi Ringo.” And then he said, “She will meet up with all the other cats. There’s a cloud where all the cats and animals you knew are playing together. No more pain and running free like when she was a kitten.”

All Goodness and Love.

The last pic I took of Ringo at 12:27am on Oct. 1, 2014, her last night's sleep at home on the purple couch.
The last pic I took of Ringo at 12:27am on Oct. 1, 2014, age 15 years and 7months  for her last night’s sleep at home on the purple couch. (The black spot on her left hind leg is where the extra sweetness went in when she was made.) 

In the final hours all the things we do with love

Dear Readers,

I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support by readers here. Many of you have sent me personal messages and  emails and all are so greatly appreciated. Thank you.

9/29/14
9/29/14

It’s harder the before part, isn’t it? When you know the end is inevitable, but yet, you watch looking to find glimmers. Oh, Ringo walked to her bowl. She’s still making it to her litter box. Oh, and she ate a bit more! She’s purring. After a few days of her withdrawing to under the table, resting and sleeping mostly, not sleeping on our bed, not jumping up on my desk to lounge on top of my laptop and help me…

After days of not, this morning Ringo jumped back up to my desk and sat in her usual spots. On the right side, behind the laptop, on top, on my lap, over my shoulder, and then circle back again to look out window at birds. She meowed and asked me to pick her up and I held her, Ringo Lite, so  airy and fragile, and she did that thing she does, nestling into my neck, hugging and purring. We sat like that for a while, while I cried and cried. I wasn’t sure I’d get to experience that one more time. But she came and gave that moment to me. One more time on my desk, inspired.

I thanked her out loud for being here with us for so long, and all her goodness. I thanked her for being there and helping us through tragedies and health problems and happy days and holidays, and boring nothing happens days, every day. I thanked her. I cried into her fur and she just purred. “What a good cat. What a good, good cat, you are. Thank you, Ringo. “

Then she got down and I thought, OK, she has given me her love for 15.5 years, a third of our lives. I have given everything I could to her. I’m lucky.

pic from 9/16/14 but she did this today, too
pic from 9/16/14 but she did this today, too

A little bit on how we found her is in this below:

Exhibit curated by Holly Metz, Cover -An Exhibition at the Hoboken Historical Museum, 2004
Exhibit curated by Holly Metz, Cover -An Exhibition at the Hoboken Historical Museum, 2004
The bit about Ringo starts on this page
The bit about Ringo starts on this page
And the rest is on this page
And the rest is on this page

This painting (sorry for not such great photo of it):

Ringo, 2001 by EH
Ringo, 2001 by EH

was inspired by this photo:

August, 2001 by EH
August, 2001 by EH

Today, Ringo enjoyed chicken and kugel (she can be such a little Jewish cat) cut up into the tiniest of pieces and heated up in the microwave. It’s hard for her to eat. It’s almost time.

Here we are with TableCat in September 2010 during Rosh Hashana.

September 2010
September 2010

When we first got her, she also couldn’t eat. So small, at 5 weeks and abandoned without her mommy cat,  we went to a vet and tried everything, used a dropper, but for days she seemed to not eat enough. On Mother’s Day morning, 1999, maybe a week after we found her, I was eating a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. Suddenly, Super Tiny Ringo jumped with all four paws into the bowl and starting chomping down. I let her (and got myself another bowl), but then I made her little cracker type things using the cereal as a base and smearing on baby cat food. She gobbled it up, eating from my hands. She’s been a great eater ever since and she grew into a whole cat.

Vintage Ringo Collection
Vintage Ringo Collection

In recent years, she’s been finicky with food, but that was fine, but really, she’s eaten very well her whole life, enjoying plenty of delicious home food courtesy of Andy’s amazing cooking skills. Now, at the end, she can’t eat enough to sustain. It is  almost time, soon, before she knows hunger, before it hurts too much, her pain meds keeping her comfortable for now.

M said, “Her work is done. She has achieved all her life’s goals. Now its time for her to rest.”

But denial along with that, “At least she doesn’t have cancer. She’ll be here, probably two more months. I’ll have one more birthday with Ringo.”

I had to tell him the truth. “Yes, Ringo does have cancer. She is going to die soon, but we don’t know exactly when. She won’t be here for your birthday. I’m so sorry.”

Watching him let that sink in was hard. His face fell. He bit his lip. I could see he was holding back tears. He gets it and doesn’t get it. We talk of the Rainbow Bridge. I told him whatever he feels is OK. I told him all feelings are OK. I said, “Let’s talk about FutureCat. Let’s eat more ice cream.”

I check on Ringo, watching her breathe. Making sure. I look around the house at all the spots where she has always been. The windows. The couch. The table. My desk. The beds. The hall. The litter box. Under things. There is fur in the screen of the window. There is fur.  More windows. She’s still so present and here. I’m already sad at the thought of her absence. All the above, but without Ringo in the picture. All the drawings I have made over the years which include her. There’s that empty space, the negative space, where she won’t be.

I cry a lot. I keep it together for when M is home. He’s so sensitive, we need to be careful, what we say, how we say it. But we still need and want to be honest and tell him the truth. We keep searching for ways to be as gentle as possible, knowing that while he often seems older than his years,  he’s also younger in other ways. All those feelings of loss and grief are certainly hard enough for an adult to process. I don’t think there’s any one right way or wrong way. We know our M and we make decisions that we feel are best for him, for us. So far, it is a mix but it is also calm and peaceful and is also a thing our family is going through together, each in our own different ways, and there really is no way out of it, just through it.

"Through the storm" made after Superstorm Sandy  in December 2012.
“Through the storm” made after Superstorm Sandy in December 2012.

This morning, M made some video of Ringo. He pet her head. He talked about names for his next Future Kitten.  He listed for me all the reasons why rescuing a cat is best, why we’ll get one from a shelter, why we won’t buy a cat from a store. M gets it.  He’s a real  cat person now. I’m glad for that.

I’m pulling out albums and looking through pictures and scanning and the time is going by too fast and it isn’t  just Ringo, but all the STUFF that has happened in the past chunk of time, 15.5 years, all rushing by. Little blips of images, memories, deaths, losses, snapshots of happy days and nights and all the days in between. Like a blur  going inward and backwards, but holding on to the pieces of the moment. I need to remember to eat. There is fur in corners and on steps and on my desk and on the window sill and —- and I like it that way.

Cat lovers know how special these creatures are. Ringo has been a muse for me. She heard me when I talked about trouble and when I triumphed. I have received and received. Grateful.

detail from illustration 2012
detail from illustration 2012

A silly ditty we had and rhymes…oh, there are so many silly songs and memories and things we have said:

“Ringo, bingo, bango, bongo, cat would eat a mango. ”

“Who’s good? Ringo’s good.”

“Ringo, Cat of Excellence!”

“Ringo, Cat of Destiny and Density.”

“Ringo, Cat of Constant Furrinness and Love.”

“Ringo, Healing Paws.”

Ringo is  a state of mind and an attitude. Ringo is pure love. We got to have pure love for 15.5 years.

How lucky is that?! Wildly, incredibly lucky to have Ringo in our life. All joy and love covered in fur. All goodness and peace. Our Beautiful Ringo, Angel Cat.

Ringo is made of StarStuff.

With love,

Elana

from Creative Systems Thinking
from Creative Systems Thinking

 

 

On having to start saying goodbye

Dear Readers,

Yesterday we took our cat, Ringo to the vet as I had suspected something was very wrong. She had started hiding in the closet, lost weight, had a strange smell in her mouth. As soon as I realized, I made an appointment to see the vet.
We learned she is very sick and will die soon.

We’re going to keep her comfortable (pain med and antibiotics from vet have been given) while we have to decide the inevitable — when.
It’s hard to accept. And already I have the dropsies and the bumping into things from the grief which has started. That time- is- sped- up- and- slowed- down simultaneously feeling where you notice everything, but then you want to please, lay down and sleep in cotton, and the sun is too bright, although warm and good with fall leaves turning and falling. Such a beautiful time of year this is.

Ringo is getting delicious brisket and long spells sitting in the window catching sun.
Heavy hearts but M already talking about our next kitty and that he’s quite sure Ringo will be going to the rainbow bridge and the rainbow is the entry point to cat heaven.

detail from a painting by Elana Halberstadt, 2014
detail from a painting by Elana Halberstadt, 2014

M said, “Maybe she will meet up with her brothers and sisters.” I said, “Maybe she’ll meet Pounce who left us in 2003. Or Banana in 1977.”  I know Andy would also think of Schnapsie, his childhood family dog. All of the animals who we love(d) who love(d) us every day and then leave us, always too soon. We’re with Ringo more than 15 years.

Such goodness and all the love as we’re being extra kind to Ringo as much as we can and to ourselves because this will be Ms first death experience. We always joked that she’s his  big sister.
And we have to help him say goodbye. Or maybe he will help us.

Transitions are hard for M. But, I don’t know anyone for whom death is an easy thing. If death is the ultimate transition, I think what an incredible opportunity to show him how we love our furry family member at the very end of her life. How we can say goodbye in a way that is only for love. Ms ability to see past this to a new, future kitten is hopeful.

It’s hard. I’m numb sometimes.  It’s the news you never want to get. Most likely cancer. Denial pops up. It could just be an infection in her mouth and then the antibiotics will clear it up, and she’ll be fine. No, that’s not what the vet said. But we say that because it feels better to hold on to that shred of hope for another day. I’ll be calling the vet tomorrow and we’ll go over everything again. I’ll ask him which types of cancer he thinks it is. I’ll ask him to tell me again what he suggests will be best for her to not suffer.  Tell me the options again.

I started documenting the end and writing in my head and I realize that’s just my coping mechanism. How to turn these feelings into pictures or find a place outside my head to put the feelings to contain them and make sense of things. Tears just roll and roll.

photo_1-18

Then I see something funny  and start looking for more funny  and I find it, and then there’s folding and  sorting piles of laundry. Then sorting and more piles of old papers and magazines and junk mail. Recycle, shred, keep. Contain. Put away. Do something that has immediate results, something I can control. Laundry, piles, or to go outside and smell the freshly cut grass by Andy. Watch M run in the circles of the grass. Try to save the orange mums  that were decimated by a critter overnight. Whoever did the damage left the purple ones alone, but now I want to bring them off the stoop, too. Those flowers make me happy.

photo_2-21

If I can make something that will last after Ringo is gone, even if I never look at it again,
maybe that’s just my way through.

photo_3-14

Of course we’ll be ok. With so many disasters and true hardships in the world, this is a personal story, nothing more or less. Just about our cat, Ringo, and things related to that, which feels like everything. She’s one I turn to for a hug and snuggle when the world feels too much to bear.  When the news is too grim and gory, Ringo is the balm of comfort.  Always perfect love. Makes everything better, makes it all tolerable somehow. Life’s moments of difficulty, eased by her presence. All the celebrations made sweeter with her here. Every day for over 15 years and counting.

This is what we’re going through now, and so I think about that; how one goes through this — losing a beloved animal friend. It doesn’t matter how many times you may have experienced this, it is never easy. Each time you go through it, it is new. Each animal has a unique soul.

So, you just go through it, however way you do. Knowing there’s no way to stop how much it hurts. No way to measure the love. No means by which to show gratitude sufficiently to the creature that is our Ringo, such a good cat. She has lived a life better than many humans. Most certainly better than so many animals. She has only known love. She has only given love. Every day since May 2, 1999 when we found her at 5 weeks old, so tiny she fit into the palms of our hands and measured 5″tall.

Pizza saves the day. Sweet treats, ice cream cones with chocolate sprinkles (or Jimmies as we said in Boston, MA when I was little). Andy made us a fabulous dessert and is cooking again, and I’m peeling tiny clementines by the handful in between cake and coffee with cream. Because sometimes I have no appetite at all, and other times, I can’t stop eating every morsel of comfort food put in front of me and with plenty of water to drink.

Sitting on a chair next to the window holding Ringo and listening to birds and kids playing outside. Then I watch her enjoy sitting in the window, sniffing at the air.

watching birds 9/27/14
watching birds 9/27/14
nice air in the window 9/27/14
nice air in the window 9/27/14

I took pictures of her on the sunny spot on the floor in the dining room and her whiskers are lit up shiny in the sun, on the floor with crumbs and bits of fur and all the imperfections. You can see she is thin and that the floor is worn and needs to be swept.

photo_4-10
shiny whiskers

The kind doctor who hugged me and gave a wad of tissues while I absorbed hearing the news and the options and accepting but not being able to say yet, yes, we will do this or that, because we just found out, she most likely has cancer, an aggressive kind, and it is untreatable. To find out for certain would require surgery and a biopsy, and then  she would not be able to be helped anyway. Doing this procedure  would confirm the  vet’s most likely opinion which he formed from a thorough visual exam, tests, the symptoms. The procedure would accurately name and type it.   We will not put her through that. She’s over 15 and she’s been living a wonderful life. It’s been a good run. Her time is coming, even though we’ve told her repeatedly that she must live forever.

With the vet’s help, we’ll keep her comfortable, giving her days with treats, open windows, and love. Not unlike any of her regular, pre-sick  days.

The vet said, “We’ll take it day by day.” He has promised me that we can hold her or her paws when it’s time for the rainbow bridge which will be soon.
Too soon.

All love,

Elana

 

Robin Williams and wanting to hide under covers

Dear Readers,

After what feels like months of crying over so many things, the news yesterday of Robin William’s death hit me hard. Like so many others, I wish I could stay home and hide under the covers. It’s hard to get up and go out and be in the world.

I wrote this last night as my Facebook status–it is all that I can manage for now.

“Can hardly even write through tears at learning of the loss of this deeply talented man. He made me laugh out loud and he made me cry and I loved him from the Mork & Mindy days, and beyond. So sad to lose a great artist who brought joy, love, and laughter to our world which is in desperate need of joy, love, and laughter. Robin Williams was truly one of a kind.

Thank goodness he shared his tremendous gifts with us for as long as he could. Carpe diem.”

I made this quick sketch this morning because I woke up with eyelashes that stuck together because I cried myself to sleep and I had to force my eyes open, and wash away dried tears, and this was all I could do.

I made this  before going out into the world, which is harsh, but also beautiful, in which no one is safe, really, no one is, from heartache and sadness. And many of us  (is it all of us?) fight that feeling, to hide under covers, to stay home, to give up.

Please don’t give up today. Please seize this day, even while crying and sad. Please be kind to your self and others. If you need help, please reach for it. There is always a need for more hugs and understanding. There is always a need for more love, joy, and laughter.

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

With love,

RobinWilliams

It never stops hurting and love is everything

Dear Readers,

hearts1

My 9-11 tears came last night. Today, I won’t watch TV or look at footage or read  about it much. I think of everyone who lost someone on 9/11/2001,
especially my friend who lost her cousin, Michael at age 27 years old.
His name is engraved  on the 9/11 memorial at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, NJ.
I went there a few weeks ago on a beautiful evening at the end of summer, my 13th wedding anniversary.

The view  includes the new tower that is almost complete. It doesn’t seem real. I thought of my friend and that day, and everything. Everything. I touched his name. It changes nothing. But it connects me to her in my heart. It connects me to remembering what is impossible to forget. It hurts. It makes me feel insignificant, small, the way I feel when I stand under giant trees, aware of how fleeting life is, how I am dependent on others. Holding my son’s hand or kissing his cheek is perfect but when he reaches for my hand,  or kisses me, it expands my heart.

My husband’s hand holding mine is what keeps me standing up as we look for the names we know,  just breathing and looking at the lights, remembering. We’ve been together 18 years. My life was altered for the good because of him. That’s a fact of my life that can never be taken by anything or anyone, and it’s with and because of that love that I have everything.

What a miracle, how love grows from sparks and laughs and chance encounters. How sadness over loss can’t be quantified or measured or wrapped up or closed. How it hurts and I stand there and I allow it to hurt. And then I must turn my head away and walk towards the trees. I shake my head over the names and the ages and the randomness of it all, the deliberate act, the spectacle, and  I try to shake off the hurt. I breathe in gratitude for what I have. I have everything. Everything.

I think of falling down  as I look over and away and down, and my heart skips a beat because I’m afraid of heights. I’ve  been there at the top and it was so incredibly high.  I imagine what it was like to choose to jump and fly down instead of burning or gasping for air. What thoughts went through the minds of people who leapt?   Did they know peace in those moments? Would that even be possible?  Because I want to believe that peace comes and fear is erased and love wins. Or is it in this moment today that I must find that?

I think of witnesses who watched people fly down and those who had to pick up the pieces, and my heart  breaks over it all, for people I didn’t know, for people  suffering in fear, and I ask myself what have I done to make the world a better place? I ask— who am I? What can I do?  Have I loved my family today? Can I be more patient? Will I choose to be kind? Will it matter if I do or don’t do anything? Over what do I have control? When do I let go? I am afraid. Is it OK to say that out loud? I am afraid and I know I have everything and I don’t want to ever lose what I have which is everything.

And so I align my day to that LOVE. What do I need to do for my family today? What do I do for a friend? For a cause? What do I do for me that is about love so my tiny smallness, the crazy world, the terrible sadness, the never-ending violence, has a place to go, while life goes on in my corner. Trying to find the words and put them in context and be clear and feel it and go on. Letting go of the fear as it washes over me. How to make it not about me but not lose myself?

I think  of  those that survived. I think of bravery and courage and  love.

Here are two previous pieces: an excerpt from a poem and this. 

I search for ways
to go through this day that overwhelms and brings tears
and is simply, still, impossible to fully grasp.

It is an unusually hot day. It’s  not like the  crisp, cool day of  12 years ago, and repeated annually, with planes flying and life circling around and trying to accept what happened and always in the end, just being entirely overwhelmed by sadness and allowing it in but also needing to not let it swallow me up.

It’s  back to school week in my town and my son has gone three days in a row and I have pride for him, because it isn’t easy to start something new. He’s conquering fears. I’m  grateful. I can’t wait until I can go wait for his bus and come home together. I’ll offer him  ice cream and I know his face will light up. It will light up and my heart will be calm because he’ll  be with me and we’ll  enjoy ice cream together and that will be the happiest moment of this day. This evening, my husband will come home from work, and as he walks through the door, another happiest moment will happen. And when we all finally go to sleep, and Ringo snuggles on the bed, too, I’ll  be happy because I have everything, and I’ll  be grateful for that always.

I hold on to  the people and things that matter to me and wish for comfort
for others who have lost their everything.

I hope for peace in our world.

I fall to my knees.

Always, always,

Love and peace,

Elana

For mothers there is no comfort: On the Newtown, CT Shooting Today

Dear Readers,

Again, in the unfolding of yet another epic tragedy this day, Friday, December 14, 2012. Reading in tiny bits, because I can’t tolerate and function as a good mother if I allow myself to read or watch or see too much and my job is to protect and take care of my son first, before everything or anything else.  Max is home sick today. Were he at school, I might have driven over there to take him home upon hearing the news. Or I’d have resisted, telling myself, but he’s safe there. But, he’s here, so I’ve got the good fortune to know he’s OK. I’m considering homeschooling at this moment. The information isn’t palatable, it isn’t acceptable, it is too awful, too heartbreaking, too senseless, beyond understanding—-the horrifying news about Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, today. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this monumental tragedy today.

My current Facebook status:

“Our country must find a way to stop the gun insanity now. I feel like a broken record along with many other voices screaming into the wind about this for ages now. How many more of these insane, senseless, heartbreaking tragedies will occur before we stop this? This country is on a killing spree. Apparently, there is a green light and OK to gun down wolves and other helpless animals. It is apparently also acceptable in our country to gun down children in schools. The mentality and warped thinking behind both the reckless treatment of wildlife and abuse of the environment here and our citizens — is one and the same. Approximately 32 people die daily from gun violence. They die in places that never make the national news. We have to make it NOT BE OK ANYMORE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN ANYWHERE. It has to stop. The violent gun culture and bullying from the NRA and all those who are beholden to the money and greed and who have twisted the “Right to bear arms” into something completely insane, must be taken down and stopped. Our children deserve better than this. We all deserve better. And we can do better and we simply have to. But it will take large numbers of MORE people speaking up and protesting and writing letters and holding our leaders accountable. Please help be the change on this.”

Mothers and fathers holding their breath and waiting and finding out something that one doesn’t wish on an enemy; the loss of a child. The murder of children. Children. At school. The words, multiple victims. 100 rounds. Maybe more. The complete and utter insanity of our country’s gun laws; weapons of war with ridiculously easy access to anyone; the criminal, the insane, the hopeless, the angry, the mentally unstable, the killer, the one who fell through the cracks of the system. Anyone. The screaming into the wind of advocates and activists and mayors and teachers and doctors and nurses and citizens, parents and children –—screaming into the cold wind today, falling on knees, lost in grief today. Today, yesterday, and what will tomorrow bring? Monday? How does one go about breathing after this? My heart breaks and aches for the families, the community, the school, the friends and children. It is enough. It is more than enough. Can the lessons please be learned now? I demand answers from our government. I demand change. We must rise up and scream loudly together, please, it must change. It is the seventh night of Chanukah tonight. I want GUN CONTROL. Speaking of light, can our leaders please WAKE UP and see the LIGHT? It is 10 days before Christmas Eve. How about GUN CONTROL for Christmas?

Make no mistake. There is no safe place for our children in America today. There is no school or movie theater or mall or space anywhere that is safe as long as there are weapons and ammunition flowing like milk, every day, everywhere. There is a war in America. There is a war on our children in America. There is a failing mental health system. There is a glorified culture of violence, greed, power, and abuse. There are also wolves being hunted down, innocent, beautiful creatures, gunned down for no reason. It is the same mentality behind the gun control issue and the destruction of our environment and the killing of innocents—wildlife, children. It is the same forces behind both that are evil and power hungry and thoughtless and harmful to all living beings. This is the source of our downfall. It must change. We are all connected. We will all fall down together.

Mothers know that if a child is lost the mother will never recover even if she appears to. Even if “time passes.” Even if “she heals.” Mothers know that losing one’s child is likely the single worst thing that can possibly befall a human being and every mother lives with the fear that something could happen to her child for her entire life and every mother prays that she be the one to go first, as is the natural order of things. And every day, mothers send their children to school, even knowing this. But no one knows the pain of it until it happens to you, the specific mother, for whom life is over in ways that no one understands; each individual loss being unique and irreplaceable and impossible to know. A grief which makes one wish the sun could stop shining, and the moon not rise, or stars evaporate, because your world has become something that cannot be lived in anymore. To live in the pain of that loss is something every mother hopes she never has to face. How does one go on breathing after losing a child? And in this way? I don’t know. This was an elementary school. I don’t know anything anymore.

Every mother is feeling the pain and loss from afar, but the mothers who lost, we can’t even hold or comfort because they’ve just all entered into a different dimension and are on another planet now, even though here on earth, wishing perhaps to be swallowed up, wishing for death, because the pain of the loss is too great to bear.

Would there be a grace to come upon the families, the mothers of the children who have been murdered today. Oh, but we cannot take away what has been done. There is no comfort. There is no grace.

Mothers know that one child lost is too many. Mothers know that if a mother somewhere else is grieving, a mother across the planet will feel her pain and cry real tears of loss with her, a complete stranger, across the world, or next door. But we cannot stand in her place, imagining, heaven forbid, saying that, oh, there but for the grace of God go I, that it could be, heaven forbid, in my child’s school. Whether you believe in God or heaven or not, only imagining for a few minutes at a time, or we’d be collapsed on the floor and we have children we must care for. I don’t believe God has a hand in this. I believe guns and ammunition and gun laws that make no sense and a lack of mental health services are the hand in this. A shooter has a hand in this. The ones he got the guns from have a hand in this. The NRA has a hand in this. The government that won’t change the laws has a hand in this.

So we will reserve our cries for later, in bed, to cry into our pillows over the lives lost and the parents mourning their children. And, if only. If only. Maybe in the future, but that is too late for the people suffering today. All the lives shattered. When can it be enough? The pain is too great, today. It is too great the pain that has taken children away from their mothers and fathers today. And every single one of us must think of the lost children today and their parents’ suffering and imagine standing in their shoes. Then take action. Because we are all potential targets of madmen with guns and it is on all of us to demand change. If ever there was a national crisis, and a moment of reckoning, this is it.

There is no time to wait; this is not political for the sake of politics or party,

This is human survival time. This is the time to demand justice for our children and our wildlife because it is one and the same –behind the killing of children and helpless animals and the ruination of our planet —- allowing that to happen and not stopping it—it is all different shades of murder. Children and our wildlife are innocents. They are to be protected. Not gunned down. Not gunned down in fields or at school. Elementary school. Where is the mercy and the clarity and the wisdom we mothers (and so many fathers) know already? Why are our voices not heard? Who are the men who hate children so much that they must clutch their automatic weapons designed as killing machines for war and tell us they have the right to bear arms in this way? Who does this? Why the guns? When we will our nation say it must stop now? Now. Not next year. Not in six months. Now. Today. Can this be the last time? I’ve asked that before. Countless others have asked it. I doubt it will be the way things are going, even as flags are lowered, as candles are lit, as vigils held, prayers offered in the dark, circles of grief expanding. But I have this deeply held wish that it will change if we all just make enough noise about it. Or is time to leave? Is that the answer? I don’t know anymore. Other countries seem to have this worked out a lot better than we do.

This is the exact time (we are long overdue, but, oh, please, let it be NOW) for a radical change in our gun control laws. It can be done. It can be done. Let’s make it done.

Because a six year old says things like this:

“Drawing is like making your dreams come true. It’s like you’re making a story without words.”

And creates work like this:

Image

And believes that there are safe places.

And believes home and school and the street are safe places.

And sees the world in color.

And dreams.

And believes dreams come true.

And brings joy.

Mothers and Fathers know this.

We’re just breathing now.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY:

http://signon.org/sign/gun-control-now-1.fb23?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=242876

http://www.bradycampaign.org/

http://www.wearebetterthanthis.org

http://www.demandaplan.org/

http://www.earthjustice.org