We’re all still reeling from the news of Friday last. The hollow, pained feeling that came with the unfolding story is palpable. I can only imagine how horrible it must be for the families involved.
My wife sent me texts at work. She was following the news reports and shaking her head in disbelief. We prayed for the families, prayed those little souls would get an express trip to the arms of our Lord.
Like everyone else, we came home and hugged our own a little tighter and kept them a little closer.
Michael knew what had happened, as much as his little 8 year old mind could comprehend from what he saw on the news, and from the information he gathered from the questions he asked about it. He felt his own sadness and disbelief.
But he was content to play with his action figures behind the couch while his mom and I sat side by side watching the horrifying news updates.
“Michael?” his mom said, when she could bear it no longer.
“What?” he called around from behind.
“Come here please.”
Michael obediently came around and presented himself to his mother.
“I just want to hug you again,” she said. He climbed into her lap and wrapped his arms around her. She buried her face in his neck and kissed him. “I love you so much,” she said, holding him tightly.
She finally loosened her embrace. “I need you to sit here with me. I need to love you,” she said.
He thought for just a moment.
“Could you still love me while I’m just over there?” he pointed behind the couch.
“Yes, I can love you over there,” she said, though I knew she’d rather have him right next to her. Probably for the next 10 years or so.
He scrambled back to play with his toys.
Love can be right up close, but it can also go around corners and down hallways and across town. And across miles.
We may not be related, but those were our kids too. They were everyone’s kids and we all will miss them terribly.