We wait two days before sitting down with him. We let it wash over us in stinging cold waves before we allow him to wade in with us. We are torn.
How do we share this? Do we even dare?
We live a thousand miles away, with no real connection apart from the children we bore and send off to school.
We are parents, weeping with parents from afar.
He is nearly 10 and his soul is a tender root and he knows - he knows - when something is off in our hearts. We want him to hear it from us, to ask us the questions, to share with us the fears and the prayers. Fourth graders talk and gasp and stories grow scary (and isn't this the scariest story of all?), so we want him armed with truth... and with faith.
We try to transpose into simple words what happened, when the truth is we have no words.
We tell him it is over. We tell him God is here, right alongside him. And we tell him God is still there, too, in the empty halls of a broken school a thousand miles away. Even when it doesn't feel like it. Even when we cannot see Him.
And we tell him, and I try to believe it and understand it myself, that he is safest wherever God is, wherever He wants us, calls us, asks us to go. And while I know this to be true, my heart still groans the question, "Isn't this what their parents believed? Isn't it it true for them?"
I believe, and I know, and I groan. They are Yours, I say. So I open the door, and send them off to school another day.