Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I was composing a post about the tragedy, but in the end I deleted it after following State's link to this comment on the Press Citizen article (no direct link, I've linked where it is now, but you might have to scroll through to get to it:
We would have like
to have offered your wife our condolences,
but you have made that unnecessary.
We would have liked to bring her pies
and casseroles,
to have filled the house with food that no one had the stomach to eat.
We would have liked to try to
distract your children from their
small, private hell, from the agonies of your
by doing something useless and mundane with them,
like taking them to the moveies, though it all would have wound up
reminding them of you anyway -- grief makes itself known in all venues.
But you have rendered that impossible.
And it is not only them we wished to comfort.
There was also you.
You in your former glory; you in your fallen state.
You are not unique in your shame and suffering,
though it was natural for you to feel that you were.
But we have all known disgrace.
We have all lied, stolen and cheated in one respect or another.
We have all cowered behind the dark shadows
of our worst actions, dreading their discovery.
We will, though we will not wish to,
all live through something that we thought we could never bear.
For some of us, that will be today.
And I am angry at you, yes,
though I did not know you and your family,
though I'd never darkened your doorstep
and now never will.
Because I would have liked to have ruffled
your son's hair when he batted my son home in a t-ball game.
I would have liked to have complimented
your wife on her dress when I passed her
at the grocery store.
I would have liked to buy Girl Scout cookies from your daughter
and then cursed her irresistability when I ate the whole box myself.
I would have liked for you all to go on,
for you to go to jail -- if need be-- and return
to the fold, restored, redeemed to your family and community.
But if you could not have borne that sentence,
if your human heart could not endure that agony,
then I would have liked for
them to go on,
without you,
for them to have been the ones
who got to make that choice.
I would have liked to have rung your doorbell,
to say to your wife, when she opened the door, with a tired swipe at a loose lock of hair on he forehead,
the four children sitting stunned and bewildered
on the sofa in the living room off the hall,
"You don't know me, but I am sorry for your loss,"
and to have awkwardly shoved my famous meatloaf
in her folded arms,
a small bundle of something far less than joy,
"I hope you and the children are o.k."
I would stammer, dropping a basket of dinner rolls at her feet,
cursing my own ineloquence and the absurdity
of using a word like "o.k." at a time like this.
And she would smile wanly and graciously,
I imagine,
if she could.
But she can't.
And there will be no pies or meatloaves or casseroles
or doorbells ringing.
You've taken care of all of that.
There is only crime-scene tape,
and the muffled sound of
other mothers of other children
weeping quietly all over the city,
on this,
the first gloriously sunny spring day
of 2008.
Well said.

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