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The Commons
Voices / Viewpoint

On another shooting

I pause this morning in the quiet, empty house to hold the pain, like a warm hand on my cheek. What to say to our children?

Jessica Weitz is a writer, artist, and librarian.

Originally published in The Commons issue #428 (Wednesday, October 4, 2017). This story appeared on page E1.



One of the first things I do to wake up my daughter on a school morning is to turn on her radio. She likes to listen to Keene’s pop station with a really funny morning duo.

The first words I heard on this first Monday in October were, “There has been another mass shooting.”

The first words out of my daughter’s mouth as she rolled over in bed were, “Another shooting?”

I sat on the edge of her bed and rubbed her back as we listened to the details, resisting the urge to shut it off and out.

School mornings are a rush of practical activities so, amid the bag packing, coffee, and juice there was a slightly heavier silence. A brief “Did you hear?” A slow-motion pang as I watched both kids head out the door into this vulnerable world.

My eyes have been watery the last few days from allergies, but this morning light and constant tears cloud my vision.

I pause this morning in the quiet, empty house to hold the pain, like a warm hand on my cheek. What to say to our children? To each other? How to hold a life that contains so much beauty and suffering? What does it mean for a person or a part of ourselves to feel so cast out of the heart to desire to inflict pain?

All I know to do in this moment is reaffirm my commitment to accept any connection and love from another being, whether it be a smile, a conversation, a glimpse into their world with my full attention, and to offer whatever love and connection I have to give to another.

May we all find peace from suffering.

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