"The following excerpt is an edited version of the journal Dara kept while living in El Salvador.
"The moments after I found out Pete had been shot ebbed and flowed like waves in the ocean.
Michelle, Ron, and our other friends, David and Jenny, were now inside our apartment. Calls needed to be made to both our parents. The boys needed to be picked up from school. Hannah needed a snack. The paperwork for Peter's insurance needed to be retrieved from the office. But I felt like I was floating farther and farther away.
I grabbed the first thing I could find, which was a broom leaning against the wall in the kitchen. I picked it up and began sweeping. I could hear Ron and David in the other room making one phone call after the next, their soft voices fading in and out as though I were dipping my head under water.
Suddenly, a blue van drove up and my boys jumped out and started running toward the house. Alison, a family friend and one of the teachers at their school, offered to drive them home so I wouldn't have to. Clearly, no one had told the boys yet because their little bodies were filled with energy and their faces carried a mixture of both elation and confusion. I could tell they were excited to see all these people at our home. Watching them is what broke my spell because I knew in that moment I couldn't waste any time.
'Come here, you guys,' I said, forcing a smile and gesturing for them to come sit with me on the wooden bench in our hallway. The words came tumbling from my mouth before I could even think of a better way to tell them. 'There's been an accident and your daddy has been shot, but he's in God's hands and everything is going to be OK.'
I looked into P.J.'s brown eyes and watched as they turned to anger, confusion, and fear. He was 9 years old, and in the year and a half we had been living in El Salvador he had witnessed a lot. There was the stabbing down the street, the times I had been robbed in the park. Each moment had made it's mark, and this one was the tipping point. He ran outside the house, hopped on his bike, and began riding around the plazuela in furious circles.
Isaac was two year younger and began to cry. I didn't know what else to do, so I wrapped my arms around him and we sat together for what felt like a very long time."