I am supposed to be a wordsmith. A writer. A reporter. Over the years, I have done my share of sad, gut-wrenching stories about people and their tragedies.

Sadly, the worst of those usually involve children. And most of the time, in these situations, words escape me when it comes to expressing how awful this is, how truly grief-ridden everyone around this must be.

I am talking about the school bus accident in Chesterfield last Thursday morning that claimed the life of an 11-year girl and seriously injured her two sisters.

We try so hard, most of us, to protect and nurture our children right from the very beginning, from the time they are born. We, "think ahead" for them when they are young to steer them away from danger and peril, major and minor. But as they grow from babies and they mature and go to school and sally forth from the nest, we cannot be there all of the time, every minute.

The Chesterfield tragedy involves, very simply, the removal from this world of a little girl who was loved very much and who will be deeply mourned. There is surely a large hole in her family's heart right now.

It is certainly not my place to point fingers or assess any blame about this, if blame is due. People with a lot more knowledge and expertise are sorting all of that out right now. I am a reporter, not a judge.

But as a parent and the father of three daughters, I can only imagine what it would be like to suffer such a grievous and deep loss, and I join with all of you in our collective grief.