I Am Your Sister in Mourning
“The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”
(The quote is from a poster held outside the school in Peshawar, Pakistan.)
Evil personified oozed its malicious presence into a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday, December 17. Before being exorcised, Taliban gunmen wrought their cruel, misguided, and dark brand of religious justice on those within the school’s walls. They said their god is great as they rained down a particular hell of their creation. No god of greatness would ever sanction such atrocities.
One hundred and thirty-two children died from their bullets. Thirteen adults died from their bullets. More than 100 people are injured from their bullets.
One hundred and thirty-two children will never again sleep in their beds. Mothers and fathers, siblings, family, and friends now grieve one hundred and thirty-two children. Funerals were held for one hundred and thirty-two children. At least one hundred and thirty-two mothers and fathers stumble in their homes, shrouded in grief, dulled into shock and dismay.
Peshawar, Pakistan: What seems so far away from my Florida home is not. As I consider this unfathomable loss, it’s here in my kitchen. It’s here in my living room. It’s here beside me as I walk throughout this day, as I walk throughout this life.
I did not bury one hundred and thirty-two children, but I buried one. I know the broken heart of a mother. I know the bitter pill of mourning a life cut short far too soon. I cannot claim to know the particular pain of a parent whose child has been murdered. I cannot claim to know the particular pain of a parent who sent their child to school, believing they would return later that day, and then knowing their child will never come home again.
I do know the pain of loss, though, the pain of missing so many things: my child’s laughter, my child’s kisses, my child’s love. I know the pain of a longing that will never be fulfilled. Because I know that much of the pain of a child’s death, dear Pakistan, I am your sister in mourning. I am your sister in grief. I weep with you from miles and mountains and oceans away. I wish to comfort you, yet know that I cannot, that your journey through this singular agony is your own. I reach my hands toward you in a prayer of peace.