A Mother’s Prayer During Dark Times

We live in an imperfect world. I used to live life somewhat unbothered by the tragedies of the world. It was easier to disconnect from that stream of sadness. Maybe it is because I have more time to kill by closely following headlines, or maybe I am just officially that old, but the nature of the news does haunt me these days. The 2020s have been hard, and in the context of raising babies and toddlers in a happy bubble, it has been challenging to navigate the opposite natures of those worlds.

As a parent, your list of responsibilities is exponentially longer. At this point, I have some confidence in my ability to persevere through some tough times. There is some comfort in looking back and seeing that despite the difficulty, I was able to close certain chapters. It is more daunting when you contemplate what your child will face, and how they will conquer adversity. After all, they currently struggle with not face planting when tripping on a princess dress on the floor. It is difficult to imagine how they will survive possible high school misery.

I favor a game plan when it comes to addressing hard times. There are a lot of challenges that can complicate life. Depression, bullying, anxiety, friend drama, and academic struggles all come to mind. I can think of ways we could combat those issues.

And then I turn on the TV and see the faces of nineteen children who celebrated their Honor Roll Program in the morning, to face an AR-15 in the afternoon. Utter trauma. Overwhelming grief. It is terrifying because it is real. This is now the reality for those families. I can change the channel when I have decided it is too much for me to watch. That is not a luxury extended to them, their life is forever changed.

Some things are too bleak, too dark to effectively brainstorm a solution. Sure, there are systemic changes that could be made to lower the odds of this exact calamity happening again in other schools. But for the parents of Robb Elementary School, the consequences are permanent. I pray for them because loss differs from the fear of losing. There is no way to reframe this situation, it is tragedy at its core.

I pray for their comfort, I pray for their support, I pray for their community, and I pray for their healing. I pray that cliches that may be shared with them do not worsen their wounds. I pray that this tragedy is not repeated. I pray that rigid political talking points do not halt productive conversations, preventing any meaningful change. I pray that my daughter’s school remains safe.

It is too much. I will hold my daughters tighter and mourn for the parents who cannot do the same.

Melissa Fleming lives in Prairieville, Louisiana with her husband, Blake, and their three beautiful daughters: Evelyn (4), Clara (2), and Chloe (1). She graduated from LA Tech with a B.A. in journalism and then earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in counselor education from UNO. She is the owner of MWF Counseling, LLC. In between seeing clients, chasing toddlers, and holding babies, she enjoys watching Real Housewives and drinking as much caffeinated tea as possible.

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