Mourning the dead in Newtown CT
Judith Sarah Schmidt
I feel called to speak some words to our beloved CIL community.
Words, however, are so hard to find at this time.
Language seems lost… stunned speechlessness seems the only response possible as I look into the face of incomprehensible horror.
My hand rises up, asking: how is this possible! How is it possible that twenty innocent beautiful wide-eyed alive children leave for the safety and wonder and love of their school one morning, and come instead to the incomprehensible ending of their lives? How is it possible! Of course there is no answer.
There is only silence, the Great Silence of no more being.
Only the Silence of the too- muchness, of the gaping hole left by their absence.
There are no words, no language. Only my hand reaching out into the immensity of stunned silence, asking, beseeching: how is this possible!
That such beautiful children and adults could be gone in a moment.
After the wailing, Silence. Not even tears come.
I light a twenty -four hour memorial candle. That is what one does in the Jewish tradition. Somehow sitting in front of it, seeing it flicker through the day and night as I pass it by, at moments carrying it from one room to another, gives me a certain comfort. Now and then, I pick it up to feel its warmth on my hands and upon my heart as I hold the families who are mourning in my love, my warmth and send love to the souls of the ones who are gone.
May we each feel held by one another with the warmth of our love, for what else is there?
As I sit quietly, two words appear to me. They are two Hebrew words.
The word shever, ‘broken’ comes. Broken hearts and broken lives.
Beautiful and broken world.
The other word is sever, ‘hope’. How similar these words, ‘broken’ and ‘hope’, signifying to me a prayer of what lies across the great abyss of grief.
This is my prayer:
May hope rise in time out of the ashes of grief. It will take a long time for that bird that sits in the heart and never stops singing to be heard again. It will take a long time or it will be hope for the wrong thing. All true things take their time. May hope come in its time for each of the parents and siblings and for all people.
All I can do, perhaps all any of us can do, as our hearts encircle the mourning families, is hold whatever light we can in our hearts. Although the darkness is very dark, may it not triumph. May we send our light, however faint, to the hearts of the mourners and to each other.
And one day, may the light of each little child and each devoted adult, taken so suddenly from their precious lives and from loved ones, may the light of their spirits touch those who survive and try to go on. May the light of their beautiful spirits be felt, perhaps in a bird’s song, or in a slant of light on a leaf in spring- time, or in the way a freshly cut grapefruit glistens in the morning. May the touch of their light stir the sacredness of all life. May we each be able to bear the broken of this world and be touched by the wholeness and healing and holiness of hope.
As each of you get through the shock of this tragedy, as you thaw and find your own feelings, your own words, please share the thoughts and prayers of your hearts with us.