I was alone watching the evening news. Suddenly, I screamed. I yelled.  I gasped. Feelings of sadness and of being distraught blanketed me. I felt a mother’s and a father’s pain in my belly bottom. 

Three children in the Burke’s family in Maraval, Trinidad perished in a house fire. They were trapped like prisoners by burglar bars.  Couldn’t escape the fiery furnace. That was the first item of the evening news. The news reported that the father fought like hell to rescue his 17-, 6- and 3-year-old children. 

They are not my children.  But I feel myself grieving. Seeing the house on fire with bellowing smoke, I was suffocating from the blanket of sadness and the emotional pain of the family. They are not my children. They are our children, society’s children, the Caribbean’s children. 

“Why these feelings?” “They are strangers. I don’t know them.” “Don’t millions of children die every day in the world?” I asked. 

I don’t care how many children die globally.  Every life is precious. 

The American Red Cross reports that children under the age of five are twice as likely to die in a home fire than the rest of the population.  

Our children are vulnerable.  We need to act to protect them. On the day of the fire, we celebrated the feast of the grandparents of Mary, Saints Anne and Joachim. As loving grandparents, I asked them to intercede for these three children. Not satisfied with their intercession, I also asked Maria Goretti, the Italian Saint who was murdered at 12 years of age, to intercede. 

“What must we do to protect our children from being twice as likely to die in a home fire?”

One thought on “Children

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