There are no words to express the magnitude and senselessness of what has happened today.
This morning, a 20-year-old man (I’ve decided to delete his name from this post) entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. His mother had some sort of connection with the school and was one of the 27 people (20 children, 7 adults – I refuse to include the gunman in this number) who lost their lives today due to this senseless and horrific tragedy.
I cannot begin to imagine what the parents of the victims and those affected are going through. As a parent, I send my sons to school every day, entrusting their care and safety to the teachers and other adults responsible for the wellbeing of every person within the confines of the school property. My husband and I eagerly wait for their arrival at their bus stops every afternoon and cannot wait to see their exuberant and adorable faces that we miss so much throughout the day.
As a parent, you wonder how you can live your lives and help your children grow and thrive when you live in a world of such great uncertainty and instability. School shootings and other mass shootings rarely occurred when I was younger. Now, they seemingly happen every year. People like to say, “It will never happen to me or my kids,” but that guarantee of safety no longer exists.
There are many questions—many of which may never be answered. This horrific tragedy is bound to ignite countless debates and finger pointing, but we must not lose sight of those who have been immediately affected by this senseless act of violence. Parents of the children in that New England town will no longer be able to send their children to school without wondering if they will come home safely each afternoon. The children will return to a school that will forever be a symbol of the horrifying events that happened there today. Regardless of the achievements and wonderful things that have happened in Newtown, it will now be forever remembered as the site of one of the deadliest school shootings (the deadliest elementary/high school shooting) in U.S. history.
Today, we mourn the lives of those affected by this horrific tragedy and we pray for healing, understanding, and resiliency. For those of us who are parents, we will anxiously wait for our children to come home from school. We will hold our children closer, give them extra hugs and kisses, and we’ll tell them we love them and we’ll tell them again. The sounds of our children playing, laughing, and even fighting will be like music to our ears, as we think of the parents who would give anything to see and hear their children again.
No parent should ever have to bury their child. Because of the actions of one monster, the parents and loved ones of over 20 children and 7 adults will have to endure that painful experience. These parents will be haunted by the memories of what their children looked like this morning and whether or not they had time to hug or kiss them or tell them they loved them before they left for school. They will be haunted by the memories of their children waving goodbye and saying “I love you” for the last time.
Cherish your loved ones and hold your children close. Live your lives to the fullest and never leave without saying “goodbye” or “I love you,” regardless of where you are going or how long you will be gone. Treat others with kindness and compassion. Pray for healing and pray for peace.
We will never forget—12/14/2012.