On Friday morning, the same morning I scheduled a post titled “Oh, To Be Six Again” dedicated to the joy my six-year-old shows me everyday, the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred and the news shook me to my core.
As a parent, no one can fathom the depth of grief and devastation those families are going through. There are no words.
This weekend I experienced a wide range of intense emotions. From disbelief, to overwhelming sadness and then extreme anger and fear.
I started ranting to my husband about guns, and WHY we have to live in a world where guns exist, and what if guns were made illegal so that only law enforcement could carry guns? Essentially dreaming of a world where this scenario couldn’t exist. I know that is not realistic, but still, something has to be done.
Then I turned my anger to the gunman’s mother. WHY did she have guns? WHY were they not locked? I got more angry at those who were closest to this individual, like his family, wondering WHY no one did something that could have prevented this? WHY didn’t they get him help if he was so severely mentally disturbed?
Then I read this article on The Blue Review called “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” about mental illness and I realized no one can know what it was like to be Adam Lanza’s mother. I do not know what she went through with him. Only those closest to him can really know.
So what was left was this feeling of extreme vulnerability, helplessness and fear. The reality that we live in a world where bad guys get guns. People suffer from mental illness. Horrific things happen. Our kids are vulnerable, we are vulnerable.
As parents, we are hyper-vigilant these days in the lengths we go to protect our children. We research car seat safety ratings, we don’t let our kids walk to school for fear of abduction, we look at labels that say “BPA-free” and organic, we babyproof every cupboard and drawer, we hover under them while climbing a structure at the park, ready to catch them if they were to fall.
As parents, our job is to protect our children and keep them safe. But no one would have thought of school as a place they have to worry about their children’s safety. School is supposed to be a safe place for kids to learn and grow. That is what is so terrifying.
On Monday morning, I woke up with a pit in my stomach thinking about where her teacher could hide students in her classroom. I almost wanted to keep her home, safe with me. But I knew we had to go on. So I kissed her good-bye and looked her right in the eye and told her how much I loved her, fighting back my tears.
I like to be a person that looks for the lesson when bad things happen, but it is hard to find one in this tragedy. What happened was horrific, tragic, senseless.
But what we can do is embrace how each day with our kids and our loved ones is a gift because sadly, there are no guarantees.
By showing those we love just how much we love them, we will help honor those that were lost.
It is my hope that their love will live on in the love we show others ~ in our words of encouragement, in the extra hugs, our messages of gratitude, in our time together.
I hope that in those moments we remember the angels looking down on us and the impact they made on our lives.
To the families and friends of Sandy Hook Elementary:
I hope you can find strength and comfort in all the people all around the world who are praying for you, thinking of you and have you in our hearts.We are grieving with you, alongside you. We also know that heaven has some beautiful new angels looking down on all of us, and their love lives on in all of us.
God bless you today and in the days to come.
If you have any feelings or reflections to share, I welcome you to comment below.
[Ribbon graphic found here]