February 01, 2003
The Shuttle is Lost

You all know the news that the Shuttle Columbia has been lost. An amazing record of the landing is here.

I was sitting down at the table to drink my coffee and read the paper. The laptop was sitting there and I decided to turn it on. I sipped on my coffee and read the paper. I looked up at the computer and saw these word on the Yahoo front page - Space Shuttle Apparently Disintegrates. I simply couldn't believe my eyes. I ran to the TV and turned it on. The now famous image of the shuttle falling through the sky with debris falling off was there. I felt the sick feeling in my stomach that I remember from college when the Challenger exploded.

They were all gone. The shuttle was gone.

Michele and I watched the news for a few minutes. Soon enough Zoe walked in the room. She looked at the TV and said,"What's that?"

I realized that I was going to actually say it. Like many times in life, thoughts, ideas, and realizations run through your mind without you saying them. In my mind, I knew the truth, but in watching the news with Michele, we had not said much other than 'Oh my god'. Zoe was looking at me expecting an answer. I grasped at how to explain this tradgedy to a 7 year old.

It took a tremoundous amount of will to summon these words, "The space shuttle crashed." She looked at me, still not comprehending why Mommy & Daddy were sitting in front of the TV with tears their eyes. She ran off to play.

Michele and I watched until we had heard all the news we will hear for the next several days until they sort things out and have some answers. We turned off the TV. I walked up front to check on the girls.

Zoe wanted me to play videogames with her. I told her I was feeling sad and didn't want to play. She asked why. Why? Again, I had to actually say it. I had to say the truth. "I'm sad because the spaceship crashed" She again asked why, still unable to wrap her mind around what could make her father sad. I swallowed deeply and finally said, "There were people on spaceship. They're all gone now."

At this, the tears fell from my eyes. The sadness overwhelmed me. Zoe hugged me and told me that everything would be all right. I pulled it together and got her and Mira playing some games.

I went to go read more news, and then it hit me.

If talking about seven deaths is difficult, how will I explain War to my daughter.

Posted by michael at February 01, 2003 08:19 AM