These days my life is divided into 3 parts - Pre-loss, Post loss & today Pre-parent. All of these segments of my life are unique & vastly different from each other. As I passed through each, I was ultimately changed, evolving through the lessons that life felt obligated to impart on me.
In my pre-parent days I worked as a child protection worker. In that job, I learned quickly that monsters do exist. I have met, child abusers, pedophiles and all around bad people. I was often criticized for being childless & that this made me less qualified. In retrospect, I did miss some realities of being a parent but it allowed me to approach things impartially & protect children matter of factly. I have no doubt that I saved at least one life if not more in my 3+ years in this role.
After becoming a parent, I have often looked back on those pre-parent days and wondered how & if I could have done that work with the heart of a mother pulling my heart strings.
In my post loss self, I have not spent much time reflecting on those times, but the events of today in Connecticut have brought them back. I have seen people's reflections of anger, sorrow, grief and many spouting the shooter as a monster. My mind was taken back to my child protection days & I was reminded, monsters do exist. My mind immediately swelled with the pain & fear that parents must have felt waiting & praying for it to be anyone elses child, desperately waiting to see their children's face, eyes, feel their hugs, wipe their tears. I thought, James, you now have 20 new friends to welcome, guide & stay with until their parents join them on their passing.
I hugged my children, smelled them, kissed them and told them that no matter where they are, even in heaven, I will always come and find them.
Wishing a safe passage to all the children & lost staff from the massacre today & unabiding love, courage and strength to those left behind in the worst moments of their lives. Today, tomorrow and in your Pre & Post lives may you find those who can help make you move from moments to minutes to hours to days and beyond in this terrible grief cycle.