In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, I wanted to do what most of us writers did and that is work it out for ourselves through the exercise of writing. But for me, the right words never came. That day, I sat with my son on my knee, wetting his head down with my tears and I could not feel anything but heart sickness and grief. I wanted it out, off my shoulders and down on paper but I’m telling you as real and tactile as my emotions were … the words just couldn’t come. I didn’t and I still don’t know how to talk about what happened. I never let Jonah watch any of what was flashing on the television screen. I shielded him from the reality of it all but I’m sure as I shook and as the tears rolled down my face, Jonah in some way was affected all the same.

That afternoon Jo and I had to pack ourselves in the car to go fetch Hubby from school. Listening to Jonah coo in the background had me tearing up all over again and when we finally arrived at the university campus, I put the car in park and waited. When I saw J appear from behind the entrance’s glass doors, I was out of the car and I flew into his arms. I threw myself around him and hugged him tightly. For several long minutes I didn’t say anything at all. I just squeezed on to him, looked up into the sky and tried not to crumble in front of him.

There I was with my family. All of us together, intact and safe. After we all piled back in our car and with J saying his usual, “Hey, Jo!” we carried on. We carried on like every other day, except fresh on my mind was exactly that; how lucky I was to be able to just carry on when others couldn’t. It was somehow wonderful and terrible at the same time.

I’ve always found that in the aftermath of a something beyond unimaginable and terrible there is an outpouring of love that comes from all sides. Acts of random kindness and generosity, phone calls and text messages of sentimental nature, hugs and hand holding, kisses and long embraces. What helped me heal some of the deep sadness I felt was recognizing those moments in my own life and celebrating them.

What I needed was something I didn’t know I needed, but it came all the same in the form of a phone call, late one night over the weekend. It was my Dad. He was back home, standing outside watching the snow come down and blanket the city. He told me how beautiful it looked with snow falling all around and then he said, “I am just calling to tell you that I love you. I love you and that’s all.” In the moment I told him I loved him too but after I hung up the phone I realised that I would remember his simple call the rest of my life, and that’s probably what I should have said instead. That is always something I can count on from my father. I may be hurting and thinking about how much I love my family but my Dad is the one who vocalizes it.

So, there are those moments that don’t so much surprise you but they comfort you and go a long way to helping you regain the ground you lost, and that is what my Dad did for me. But then there are the surprising moments that come from somewhere unexpected. And I’ll keep this short and personal because that is how it needs to be.

Sweet girl,

You’ve always been my … “my giving tree”.

And now where ever I go, I get to take a piece of you, a piece of us with me.

Our friendship has gone through many metamorphoses and has withstood the test of time.

I’ll wear it next to my wedding ring because that is how I will live out this life and friendship.

With you next to me. With you as my foundation. With you as a partner. With you until the end.

I am dreamer, and when I imagined the perfect best friend … I never dreamed you would become a reality.

You know I am who I am because of you.

All my love,

— K