Monday, December 17, 2012

Small things

One of my fellow R-MWC sisters lost her six-year-old daughter in Friday’s tragedy.

This is Catherine Hubbard.  Although I didn’t know her (or her mother who graduated 6 years before me), I feel like we all would have been fast friends.  She was an animal lover who dreamed of opening her own animal shelter, one of the most selfless and toughest jobs I can imagine.  And she had red hair, Frances’s favorite.  Frances would have idolized her and I would have praised her choice in future careers.  Her mother asked that in lieu of flowers her daughter be honored through the local Newton, CT. animal shelter.  So, today I made a donation to The Animal Center in Catherine’s name and on behalf of Frances.  Even in her wake of indescribable grief, Catherine’s mother has given us bystanders a way to feel a hint less helpless.  No doubt, her beautiful daughter was following in her noble mother’s footsteps—both of them Macon women to the core.

I’m having a lot of trouble getting over what happened last Friday.  When I’m alone, my thoughts are wandering and my eyes are watering.  Constantly.  I keep thinking about Catherine’s mother and all of the other parents.  As I go about my day, I’m noticing more and more my children’s small things that have crept into my everyday life—the family pictures in each room, Frances’s hairbands tossed in my purse, George’s tiny Buzz Lightyear underpants waiting to be folded in the dryer, the Christmas gifts hidden not-so-slyly throughout the house.  I keep thinking about the parents of those children who will discover the same small things and how much their hearts will break each and every time.  The premade snack bags that won’t get eaten.  The toothbrush that is no longer needed.  The forgotten pebble or stick absent-mindedly tossed into a coat pocket while at the playground.  To find these sweet, small reminders of your sweet, small child for weeks or months to come must be beyond brutal.

In honor of their small things, my family made a small donation.  I wish we could give more—much, much more.  But, like many small things, it is given with the greatest of love and hope.  I also made a silent request to our Max to greet Catherine with his warmest of wet kisses.  I know they will get along famously—he is partial to sweet little girls. 


  1. You write so beautifully Lucy. Completely capturing the way I'm sure all mothers are feeling. I know I am. Like you I am having a hard time not constantly thinking about it and tearing up. This morning I put on my make-up thinking how silly of me. I knew it wouldn't last long just like it hasn't since Friday. Catherine is so precious. They all were. It just breaks my heart. There aren't words to describe it.

    1. Oh Erin, thank you so much. I know you are tortured as much as I am - I can feel it in your writing as well. I see Frances and George in every child's face; it's almost too much. My only hope is that their parents know how much we are all thinking about them and praying for them. I hope that is some comfort to them.

      Give our love to your sweetest angels!

  2. I haven't commented or written anything about last Friday's events not because I haven't been thinking about them but because it's almost all I think about. And yet I have, out of all that thinking and agonizing and hoping and a million other -ings, really nothing that I can say. Nothing. So thank you for articulating such painful things in such a real and honest way.

    It's unbearable, this sadness. And senseless. And so incredibly and utterly heart-wrenching that I can't even fathom what it's like to be closer to the tragedy, or to have lost so, so much on that morning. I'm at a complete loss. And I guess that's as it should be. We shouldn't be able to neatly package our thoughts on the matter, to send a gift of one sort or another or sign a banner spelling out our sympathies in marker, and move on. (Not that those things aren't worth doing. They certainly are, as it helps to feel like you're doing something, as you said. And I plan on giving as much as we possibly can in sweet little Catherine's honor.)

    This, these poor souls who are gone, and the poor souls left behind and the poor souls who witnessed things no child (or adult, for that matter) should ever have to see, should remain in our collective thoughts indefinitely. They should remain in the thoughts of anyone and everyone, and most especially in the thoughts of those who have the power to enact change. Any type of meaningful change. It's not a matter of politics or I'm-right-and-your're-wrong, but a matter of absolute and utter necessity. Something has to be done. I'm not sure what exactly that "something" is, but it needs to happen.

    I didn't know about Catherine's R-MWC connection until I read this. But it makes sense to me now. When I was looking at the pictures of the victims, Catherine stood out to me. Her red hair drew me to her, reminding me of my sister at that age. I stared at her picture a little longer, wondering how on earth it would be possible to look at that sweet face (and all the other sweet faces) and do the unthinkable. And now I look at her sweet face and think of her mother, who walked the same halls we did, who ate in the same dining hall that we did, who put her arms around her friends' shoulders and sang the same school song that we did. And while I don't know her, I will think of her every day as I drop Will off at school, when I pick him up, kiss him (and Laura) good night, watch my kids as they sleep, listen to their laughter, watch them opening presents on Christmas morning.

    Love to all of you over there. Goodness knows everyone needs more of it right now.

    1. As hard as it was for you to write, I can't tell you how much it means to me. There are certain people I NEED to hear from in unspeakable tragedy and you, my friend, are one of them. You are so, so right in every single way.

      Every morning I walk Marshall under the cover of 5am darkness. And ever since Friday, I've been using that 20 minutes to cry. I don't even mean to, but it just comes naturally as the two of us circle the neighborhood. I can't help but look up to the star-filled sky and talk to those babies. I tell them how much they are loved by all of us and how much they have helped me appreciate even more (which I didn't think was possible) every single day I have with Frances and George. Those tiny souls have changed me as a mother and I thank them for that and need to thank them every day that I have with my babies.

      My mother has said many times over the years that every child is a miracle and as soon as Frances was born I understood completely what she meant. And now I know that every day you have with that child is also a miracle. 6 and 7-year-olds taught me that lesson.

      Sending love right back at you. There is a lot of good out there; may that always be the case around the ones that we cherish.

  3. Lucy this was lovely. Catherine's mom is a classmate of mine. We're working on a couple of projects (if you're on FB in the RMWC groups you've probably seen them). If not please stop by and check them out. I will be sharing this. Jen '95

    1. Jen - thank you so much for letting me know. I will definitely check out the projects - anything at all I can do to help. This holiday season was so bittersweet in so many ways, knowing there were parents, siblings, friends and family who were feeling such an unimaginable absence. Please pass on my love to Catherine's mother and thank her for letting us know how we could honor her beautiful daughter.