4: Two Lives

4: Two Lives

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery

Two Lives

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”

~Eve Merriam

It was August fourteenth and August fifteenth.

It was two families shattered, shocked.

It was 1,000 friends at the candlelight vigil.

It was the three teachers I haven’t seen since high school.

It was the boy who never cried who made an eloquent speech while he wept.

It was the sweat that stretched down my back.

It was my friend falling apart next to me.

It was the bug that drowned and burned in the wax of my candle.

It was the entire town, brought together.

It was incomprehensible.


It was the way that suddenly I couldn’t remember their faces.

It was online message boards carved with words of remembrance.

It was breaking the news to my brother.

It was the questions from coworkers—“Did you know them?”

It was the front page newspaper articles the whole week.

It was the tribute on the billboard outside the pizza parlor.

It was the flags at half-staff when they finally came home.

It was the 21-gun salute, the 50-foot American flag, and the two dozen yellow roses.

It was two boys just out of high school, not even men yet.

It was Iraq the first day, Afghanistan the next.

It was a Boy Scout and a punk rocker who were never quite friends.

And it was the tall man on the hill during the vigil who put it all into words:

“God bless your boys, and be with them.”

~Paige Cerulli

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