A little boy named Brian wrote a letter in his classroom when the shooter was coming…the caption on the picture said, “before he died.”
Two thousand miles away I didn’t need to read the story or find the latest video…20 children. I simply wrote a quick note to my wife,
“On the train. Just heard what happened today. Going to break down when I get home.”
There are no words. I sat there quiet and alone between the empty faces and the stops heading south and thought of my little ones asleep in their beds. I thought how I worked far too late and what if, and what is wrong with our world and where do we go between the stolen moments and the little footsteps down the hall on Sunday mornings that make it all worth while.
My wife and son were head to toe in his little bed and I brushed his hair back off his forehead and then hers too. Shhhhh.
I clicked through my stories here of summer dreams and playing water balloons with my kids and screen doors and laughs and flying home again, this time from Toronto, wondering if they would be waiting in the long hall at the airport behind the sliding doors. Love songs and cemeteries and the photographs of the places you will never understand so well,
and I wrote a letter to heaven…
You are a good boy and your mom loves you very much…it’s OK… (*I’m sorry, with respect I’m not going to share the letters.)
and finally, at 3:30am, I fell asleep.
Three hours later, showered, dressed, ran to the corner to the bus and minutes later I read the list of names on the New York Times post, 20 children, none of them named Brian…and on a downtown train with a letter to heaven on a tragic day I found some hope.