We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.
~ Nikki Giovanni
I woke this morning to see this quote on my daughter Miranda’s Facebook page along with a few words of her own noting the significance of this day for her and for many associated with Virginia Tech and its community. She has shared with me some of the private ways she remembers the 32 who died that day and I’m grateful that she has found a way to honor their memory in a way that hopefully gives her some sense of peace.
I say hopefully, and peace, with more optimism than I really feel because I’m not sure how one who has been in the middle of something so violent and unexplainable can ever really let go of some of the questions that have no answers.
This is not the first time I’ve written about this day and likely won’t be the last. I know the events of 4.16.07 have had a lasting impact on my daughter and I worry as a mother does about the silent sorrows that remain hers alone, the thoughts she chooses not share.
My father died 20 years ago, long before Miranda could know him well enough to have any memory of him and for the last few weeks I have been hearing something he wrote. It’s been in my head on an endless repeat cycle almost in the way you hear a tune that won’t go away and I’ve been puzzled as to why until just this minute as I was considering my daughter and how inadequate I’ve felt over the last four years watching her deal with her memories on her own.
People we love reach out to us in their own time or sometimes not at all and if it’s your child, watching from the sidelines can be a difficult position to occupy. I tend to be emotional and very open with my feelings, giving in easily to my tears now after years of holding back. Miranda is more stoic and more like my dad, tender-hearted for sure but private and contained. It’s interesting that I’d not noticed that similarity until today and it comforts me to feel as if my dad were reaching out in a way with some paternal advice reminding me of who I once was and how our positions are now reversed.
The words that have been with me the last few weeks seem perfect in this moment and the meaning clear as I struggle with my own memories and search for ways to support a daughter who seems fine on her own. I am quoting my father when I say to my daughter as he once quietly said to me, ” I am here as you need me. “
And I add to his words my own, saying, ” In this, and in all things, I am here as you need me “