This morning I sit in stunned silence with tears wet on my cheeks while I watch more coverage of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. So many young lives. So many little ones who should be eagerly counting down to Christmas with their families and getting excited about Santa visiting next week. These Christmas Angels were here too briefly, their wings beat whispers on the snow, and their lives were bursting with potential and the promise of a long future for each soul.
I do not yet know the pleasure of parenthood, and I cannot imagine the heart-shattering devastation that their parents and families are experiencing in the cold dawn after this event.
The teachers and staff who put themselves in danger, who guarded those children with their lives, and in some cases gave their lives. These are angels who walk the earth.
The majority of us will never know the sharp and searing pain that the loved ones of those who passed are experiencing right now. We will never understand the depth of their grief and the task of rebuilding a future on a foundation that no longer exists. My heart goes out to every family touched by this tragedy.
Today I look around at the photos of my family and friends that line the walls of my home. Memories and moments captured; love caught in celluloid. I realise how lucky I am to know that most of these people are only a phone call or an email away. I can reach out with my arms and wrap them around those I love, pull them close and listen to the beating of their heart. Each breath, each beat, every sound, reminds me how blessed I am to have these beautiful people in my life. I am not always so grateful; I am not always so aware of my good fortune. I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I forget the blessings bestowed upon me by life. But I have always known that I am loved.
Every single day. Every. Single. Day. My parents have told me that they love me. Each night before I go to bed we say those words, and they anchor me to the hearts that surround me.
In the wake of this tragedy, gather close your family and friends.
Let them know that they are the candles in the window lighting the way home.
Let them know that they can turn to you whenever they are in need and you will answer the call.
Let them know that you value them more than any earthly fortune.
Let them know that you love them.