Written by Heather Riggleman
I life my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord–the Maker of heaven and earth.
Dear Parents of Connecticut Shooting,
I’m at a loss. This tragedy compared to others has affected me the most. Maybe it is because I have a preschooler on the edge of entering grade school and yet I have another thriving in Kindergarten and still another in middle school. I too, know what its like to have my heart toddling outside my body, manifested in the flesh and blood of my own children.
Living in Nebraska, Kearney no less, where the streets are quiet, the air is fresh and the fields go on as far as the eye can see, I feel safe, at least I did. Reality set in this morning as I woke up to the sounds of Tori and Elijah squealing from their rough house play in his loft bed. But for the parents of the Connecticut Tragedy, their children’s bed are empty this morning. Their child’s toys, untouched. Barbie’s and Tonka Trucks lay half forgotten in the middle of their bedroom floor. Everything left as it was Friday morning before they left the safety of their home and walking to their last few final moments at school.
If I were to write a letter to the parents, what would I say? I would say, I am SO sorry. I would say, I know what it is like to lose a child, but mine wasn’t taken in tragedy nor was mine taken through violence. I do know one thing however. Your child and mine are now playing in the fields of heaven, as our Savior Jesus looks on. I do know Jesus was there to lead your child home, hand in hand after he embraced them in open arms.
I can say your child is no longer suffering as they climb trees, giggle in delight sitting in the grass as they lay on a lion cuddling with a lamb. While it your heart is grieving, just as much as mine for you, I can say if you know the plans of Jesus, you will be reunited one day.
Will the sting of losing your child ever go away? No, it will not. I smile along with you knowing the journey of healing and sorrow you must travel and let me tell you the sweetness of walking through the valley of the shadow of death with Jesus. He whispers in my ear that God knows what it is like to lose a loved one. Not just any loved one but his one and only son. He lost his son, so that your child and mine can skip through fields of gold with a melody of joy springing forth.
To the parents of the Sandy Cook Shooting, I am SO sorry. I never knew your child but I sob because of your loss. To the mother of the man who created this nightmare, I am SO sorry; this isn’t the dream you had when you brought your son into this world. And yet to others who have lost their loved ones over the years, I grieve with you-yet I smile through the pain, knowing God has a plan.
Yes, you may scoff, “If there is a God, why did he let this happen?” Right now, he is holding every single tear you cry in his hands and he will count the cost of your grief. And while the answer may not bring you comfort, I can say, he will bring glory and honor to your family if you ask instead of “why” but “What now?” This, my friend is where the power of healing comes in. Will the memory of your baby be lost if you let go of the bitterness? “No,” I whisper into your ears, instead, “There will be joy, this I can promise.” And with that I leave you with words which comforted me when I loss my own in an unexpected way.
So Be It
(an excerpt from the book, Mama Needs A Time Out).
Life holds a fragile web
it’s links are torn and broken
Often times, it gives away and pain becomes the token.
Yet through the pain
we find the core of courage in the heart
We build again what life has blown apart.
No easy task confronts us now
as one by one
We weave the tangled memories of love
which we so dimly perceive back together again.
And through the weeping in our souls
the web grows strong again
And life begins to whisper ….
*Written by Lois Tiffany
I don’t want to end this letter, in fact I want to be there in the moments when you are barely hanging on. I want you to know you are not alone. These are the moments when Jesus carries you as we continue to lift you up in prayer.
All my love and prayers
Heather and the HVFH Team
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.