Dear Chattanooga Moms and Dads,
Oh friends, my heart breaks for you. I have two friends who live in Chattanooga, Tiffany and Jessie. And when I saw the news I rushed to their Facebook pages to make sure their kids were all ok. They were. It wasn’t their school bus. I felt a rush of relief, and then my immediate thought was, “My relief for my friends is unbelievable grief for someone else.” My heart dropped to my stomach and I landed on my knees, because that someone else is you—ten parents now mourning one of five children that died on the school bus, the vehicle that had always been and should be a safe haven.
Moms and dads, hear me when I say my heart is BROKEN for you. Like so many of us do, like I did just this morning, you sent your kids off to school with jackets and backpacks without a second thought, anticipating their safe return at the end of the day as a given. Now, your tragic loss will serve as a reminder to all of us that not one minute with our precious children is a given.
I don’t know any of you. I’m not part of your local community. And as yet, I don’t even know your names or your precious little ones’ names. But I can promise you this: I will remember you, and I will remember them.
When I kiss my children as I send them off to school, I will remember your child.
When they arrive home, I will greet them with a thankful smile in memory of your child.
When I’m exhausted at my child’s bedtime, I’ll listen to them go on about their day anyway, because I know you long to hear your child’s voice one more time.
When I am given the chance to spend one-on-one time with my child, I will jump at that chance because I know you would give anything for it.
And when I thank God in my prayers for my children, I will thank him for the time you had with yours. I will ask Him to comfort you, to stay by your side, to reach through your grief and provide supernatural comfort. I will ask Him to bring SOME good, some unfathomable beauty from these ashes in your child’s name. And I’ll ask Him to please, please, give you the strength to face every new day without your baby.
Chattanooga school bus parents, your children were a GIFT from God and their lives MATTERED. As a parent, I mourn with you and I promise to help your child be remembered. I will share their stories, and I will help make their names known. I will help them be known for the beauty of their lives and not the tragedy of their deaths.
I don’t have much to offer you, but my prayers and my promise. May God comfort you as you cry out to Him, and may you feel so many loving arms around you during this time.
With much love,