The summer has been washed in sadness. There should be some comfort from knowing I am feeling what hundreds in our community are feeling, but I would dearly like more.
Sweet Charlotte McCue. As I learned the where and the how of her death, I had to sit down. The ache just settled in my stomach and heart in a tight knot. I am prickly with thoughts of her parents and their bright, sharp agony. It may be eased by faith in God and belief that Charlotte sits warmly ensconced beside Him now. But their beautiful girl is gone, and none of us were ready for her going.
As I tried to gather my thoughts, I was struck by all the order in the universe. The laws of physics are immutable, the speed of sound, the speed of light, the tides of the ocean, all come and go in their preordained time. How then, could a joyous family vacation be so fraught with the unknown.
Eight years of immunizations, trips to the doctor, warm clothes, sunscreen, baths for fevers, sleepless nights, elbow pads, helmets, seat belts, earthquake supplies, fire drills, glow-in-the-dark Halloween costumes, healthy meals, early bedtimes, and love, did not help. I will never shake the unrealistic, but pressing, sense that they should have.
I continue to chafe at the inequity that all of us touched by Charlotte’s death can’t, somehow, ease her family’s nightmare. Perhaps the outpouring of love helps a tiny fraction, but its extraordinary strength should have the power to simply lift that pain from them. We stand willing to take on their suffering, and cannot.
We just want so badly to do something, say the right thing, give the right hug that will somehow make it OK again. Our parents and teachers are not accustomed to doing nothing. They spend the better part of every day in “How can we make this better” mode, looking for creative solutions, tackling problems, looking ahead, all toward a brighter future for our babies.
Forever more, when we see the sun set, the moon rise or the waves wash in, we will remember, ache inside for Charlotte’s family and worry about everyone’s babies just a bit more.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer remembering Charlotte. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.