I can’t wrap my mind around the horror, the anguish of Friday’s events, but I also realize that what I feel is helpless. For many tragedies, we can somehow mobilize. And we, as loving humans, are often good at mobilizing. In times of sickness, we make casseroles, and deliver them, neatly packaged and labeled, made with love. In times of natural disaster, we send clothes and food. We have hotlines to text donations to the Red Cross. We know how to care for one another. We set up meal trains, car pools, play dates, fundraisers. We can do these things.

What we cannot do is take away the grief of those parents. We can grieve, but our grieving does not lighten their pain.

My kids speak of joy in terms of bits. They have described their best days as “One thousand bits of fun.” They also love to tell me that numbers start but never end. JJ is amazed when he tells me, “Numbers start with zero but go to infinity.”

In my land of magical thinking, when I was lying awake last night, I wished that the 300 million people in the U.S. could each take some of that grief and share it.

I imagine those parents have grief to infinity, but if I could have one wish, it would be that we could each take on bits of grief to lighten their load. 

The old, the young, the optimistic, the pessimistic, the healthy, the infirm, the joyful, the grumpy–I am sure that everyone would be willing to take on some bits of grief. We could spread out the bits until those parents were left with what they could manage so that they could still experience joy and smiles and laughter.

I’ll take one thousand bits, please. 

About the Author

Amy Cooper Rodriguez

Amy Cooper Rodriguez is a parenting writer, physical therapist, and mother of two. Her work has appeared on Babble and in numerous parenting magazines.

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