A Mom lying on the stretcher next to the body of her daughter crying out "My baby! My princess! WHY?!?!"
Child life specialists in the floor with a grandmother who fell down upon hearing of the death of her granddaughter. Teams of surgeons, ED docs, nurses, residents, therapists lined up in the hallway awaiting the next victims. Three codes running simultaneously. An endless stream of staff arriving, asking, "How can I help?" Sandwiches and water delivered to families. Hundreds and hundreds of family members arriving to pray and grieve and support each other. Police officers working with medical staff to provide information for families. Administrators coordinating bed availability and operating rooms and finding places for families to be together. A surgeon rushing past with tear-filled eyes and a blood-stained gown. An ED doc sharing a fist-bump with a child. Pediatric residents everywhere, meeting needs with courage and compassion. Families reunited with their children, sharing hugs and refusing to let go. A brave 6-year old calmly giving his name and his Mom's name with correct spelling. Teachers working with medical staff to identify children. Families hearing the words "Your child is not here" and realizing she is probably dead at the scene. A father finally locating all three of his children. A mother at the bedside of one child but with no news of the other. Children with coloring books and stickers. Faces lined with shock and fatigue and pain.
These are the human faces of tragedy... the snapshots of courage and grace and compassion and fear and anger and unspeakable pain. There is no explanation, no wisdom, no advice, no solution. The question of "why" cannot be answered. All we can do is be there for each other... be present in the pain... work and serve and love and grieve together.
So grateful tonight that I can hug and kiss my girls. So incredibly proud of the Erlanger and Children's team. So happy for the families whose children are okay. And so profoundly sad for the Moms and Dads and grandparents who will wake up tomorrow with a hole in their heart and soul that can never, ever be filled.
Pray for us, please....