I've turned the granny purse of my soul inside out for a word this week, but none convey the sick I feel in the pit of my stomach.
I've been home with a cold, bombarded from every direction with stories about the father who blew up his house on Sunday killing himself and his two sons. Josh Powell said he couldn't live without his boys -- Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5 -- and he killed them.
It's all I can think about -- Charlie and Braden and all of the others who don't make the headlines.
Babies are supposed come home from hospitals in terrycloth pajamas; in car seats that were checked and rechecked -- crash tested -- by overattentive parents. They're supposed to be jostled awake several times a night by frantic mothers checking for vitals like clumsy nurses.
Children are supposed to feel loved and safe. They're supposed to know at the end of the day while they're nodding off to sleep that nothing will make them unlovable.
It shouldn't be so difficult to protect them -- to prevent a father from murdering his sons during a court-ordered visitation.
He was a person of interest in the disappearance and presumed murder of his wife. He'd been ordered by a judge to submit to a psycho-sexual evaluation. At what point does a child's right to safety outweigh a parent's right to parent?
A lot of people will blame the state, the courts and law enforcement, because they're easy targets.
I'll go one more:
Way, way back before most of us had heard of Josh Powell -- there was a neighbor or a random passerby who noticed something about him worth reporting and shrugged it off -- didn't want to get involved.