This morning, I dropped off my two beautiful, wickedly funny, incredibly bright, sweet, and caring little girls at their school. I drove away feeling happy that the weekend was just around the corner and that Christmas break was fast approaching, as I looked forward to spending precious time with them. Around noon, I caught a glimpse of the news report that said a gunman had shot and injured three people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. I was horrified but relieved that it was not worse, which is a sad commentary on how commonplace such acts have become, and I said a quick prayer for all those who had been present for this senseless act of violence. Then, around 2:00 p.m., my initial horrified reaction intensified when my pen pal sent me a text saying that 27 people had been killed, most of them children. My quick prayer morphed into anguished prayers and rants, and my heart shattered.
I have not been able to watch the extended media coverage of today’s killings yet, and I don’t know that I ever will be able to do so, for what I do know is already overwhelming. I simply cannot wrap my brain around what transpired, and the debates about who or what is to blame are more than I can process. In an attempt to make sense of the senseless, there is endless speculation, theories, and blame. Do we need more stringent gun control laws? Should the school have had better security? Did the mental health system fail the gunman who had to be insane to carry out such a violent act? Could the gunman’s family or friends have done anything to prevent this from happening? Where do we go from here?
We are all left with broken hearts, fear, and endless questions, and no matter what answers and explanations emerge, it does not change the facts. There are 27 people who are no longer here to dream, to laugh, to love, to make a difference in this world, etc., and 20 of those lives lost were innocent children. They may be strangers to most of us, but make no mistake, they are our children. Life as we know it may return to some sense of ‘normal’ for those of us not directly impacted by this latest tragedy, but lives have been lost and altered forever. There is no ‘normal’ for anyone any more.
If nothing else, this has been a terrible reminder to never ever take for granted how precious and fleeting life is. For me, I will look at simple things, such as seeing my girls race over to me in carpool to greet me with hugs when the dismissal bell rings, with renewed gratitude, and I will slow down and be more present to appreciate the time I have with two little girls who mean the absolute world to me. I cannot fathom life without them, and I am in tears thinking of the families and friends who now are faced with a life without their loved ones. Why?!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story