My daughter was at a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” here in Colorado last night.  So was my niece.

Thank God they weren’t at the midnight premiere in Aurora some forty miles from home.

Like much of the world, I awoke to news of the mass shooting in a theater not too far away, a similar crowd to the one my darling girl was a part of last night.  This morning when I left for work, she was still sleeping peacefully. I kissed her sleepy little self and told her I loved her.  I don’t think she’ll mind if I share her Facebook post from about 4:00 a.m. this morning. She must have found out about this after she got home.

“I, much like thousands of other people across Colorado, went to see the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises. But while so many of us were sitting comfortably watching the movie we were all so excited for, at least 14 people, who were expecting a night like mine, were killed in a mass shooting in another midnight premier at the Century 16 theaters in Aurora, Colorado. My heart and thoughts go out to all of those who were injured or who lost someone in this senseless act of unprovoked violence. There really are no words to explain what happened this morning…”

I wish she had awakened me.

It breaks my heart, and as a parent, it terrifies me.  MKL and I were driving through the Columbine neighborhood a week ago, and I got very quiet.  I can’t go near that area without remembering the pain and terror and permanent destruction of lives and hearts and families that happened at Columbine High School.  Ever since Kelsea started school, an incident like that has been hovering in my fears that live in that place in your brain that you can’t let go of, but can never bear to face.

Last night struck too close to home.

You can’t protect your children from insanity.  You can’t lock them away so they’ll be safe forever. Life is unpredictable. And sometimes it is indescribably tragic and agonizing. And so often, so random. All you can do is, sadly, play out scenarios with them – “What would you do if…?”  – coach them, and hope they never find themselves having to actually experience those moments, and put those practice scenes into action.

From the empath’s perspective, I am trying hard today NOT to go to the place where I feel the overwhelming pain of those who lost someone, or the staggering fear and panic of the people who were there.  That’s my automatic response. But I don’t want to do that.

Today, I want to just say a prayer for those people, and for my own daughter.

As she said, there really are no words.