I’ve been waking up at 5:30 AM no matter what time I go to bed. I find myself unable to go back to sleep because I can’t stop running through my previous day and thinking about all of the experiences I had with my children that Lara Sobel and Brendon Cousino won’t get to have with theirs.
Lara was killed while on duty as a Department for Children and Families Social Worker. Brendon was an Emergency Medical Technician for Richmond Rescue, who was killed while on his way to pick up a birthday cake for his daughter. I can relate more to Lara, because she’s a woman and a DCF Social Worker, and so am I. But both losses are just as hard to swallow. We were not friends. We did not call each other to talk about our ups and downs. But I still feel pain.
I am angry. I am angry at senseless acts of violence. I am angry that our mental health services aren’t more proactive. I am angry that when our legislators cut budgets it always starts with those that are the most vulnerable. I am angry that people have such easy access to guns. I am angry that people make such terrible choices with such a disregard for others lives.
I am sad. I am sad that 5 girls have to grow up without their mom or dad by their side. I am sad that I can’t take their pain away. I am sad that our Vermont community lost two people who were actually doing something to make others lives better. I am sad that their spouses don’t have them to balance their lives out and that they won’t be able to watch their children grow up with someone by their side.
I am sorry. I am sorry, girls. I am sorry that someone took your parent away from you. I am sorry that you won’t have the experience of having your mom talk to you about your period or have your dad teach you to play baseball. I am sorry you won’t get to bake cookies together, or learn to knit. I am sorry they won’t get to see you in your next dance performance. I am sorry that they won’t get to cheer you on at your next track meet. Or comfort you when your first romantic relationship ends. Or watch you graduate. I am so so so sorry that nothing I say or do can make this loss easier for you.
As parents, we imagine these milestones all of the time. We think about supporting our kids through each measly momentous occasion of life. We should be there. You should be there. They should be there. It is not fair that they can’t be. But they won’t. Be. There.
However, we will all be there for them. We will hold their girls in our strong community. We will think of them when we are tucking our kids in. We will find grace in the grizzliest of arguments with our pre-pubescent girls. We will remember that they should be there, but that they are not. And in that, we will honor their lives.
And again, this makes me angry. It makes me want to scream and cry and rip the hair out of the heads of those who made this happen. But I won’t do that. I will sit here, at 5:30 AM and weep to myself, so that when my children awake, I can be there for them to have those experiences, that Lara and Brendon don’t get to have.
I will send loving thoughts, prayers, intentions into the world so that Lara and Brendon’s children will feel safe and protected and loved. And so that the sadness that they feel when their parent is not physically present during their milestones, is coupled with a feeling that the community of parents around them is cheering them on. And so that Lara and Brendon’s spouses can be comforted by the soft, warm arms of their community.