|(artwork by Stephanie Ackerman)|
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message [they are] Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
[They were our] North, [our] South, [our] East and West,
[Our] working week and [our] Sunday rest
[Our] noon, [our] midnight, [our] talk, [our] song;
We thought that love would last forever, [We were] wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
I have been struggling with the events of last Friday as I know most of us have been. Every time I read a story about the tragedy, I am reminded of my own child and the tears start all over again. I cannot begin to comprehend the loss that this community is grappling with right now. All I can do is grieve with them and remember that "night cometh" for us all. None of us knows how much time we have so we must make the most of our opportunities to say "I love you" and to hug each other and value each other. My father was killed when he was walking across a street on the way to work. Just like he had done every day for years. I still struggle to remember what my last words to him were.
It seems trite and wrong to look at the preparations for Christmas on the internet and all around me. All the ads and sales and giveaways. Even though I know holiday sales are so critical for small businesses. It just doesn't seem important. But life goes on. We have to celebrate our time with our loved ones in order to honor those who cannot.
Even as I struggle to find understanding and maybe even some sort of compassion for the shooter, I will never again say his name. I will not allow him fame or notoriety. This holiday season, I will hug my loved ones close and remember to tell them that I love them every chance I get.
I appreciate each and every one of you. I wish you joy, good heath, and prosperity in the coming year. And....most of all.....peace.