Despite being thirty meters away, I had been hit, too. My left eye couldn’t be saved, and the tiny bits of shrapnel embedded in my face were permanent physical reminders of that day.
“Mommy, I’m hungry. When’s breakfast?” asked my four-year-old daughter from the doorway to the bedroom
Fear and embarrassment shot through me. Thank God my back was turned to her, and it was too dark for her to see the pistol I had placed in my mouth. Tears now flowed freely as I pulled the barrel from my mouth and put the safety back on. I cleared my throat and steadied my voice, “I’ll be there in a minute, sweetie.” I stealthily concealed the gun in the very back of the drawer of the nightstand before joining my daughter who was waiting for me, her security blanket trailing behind her and Patches, her teddy bear, clutched in her hand.
As we walked together into the kitchen, my mind was still another time and place.
She drew me back again when she asked, “Mommy, can we have pancakes today?”
As I mixed the batter, I prayed, God, please make this nightmare stop. I’m so weak. I must be strong for my daughter. She saved me today, but what about tomorrow?