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You are not alone in this

candle

I remained pretty quiet on Friday after reading the news of Newtown, CT. I read most of my friends’ status updates about how heartbroken they were about the tragedy, but I remained silent. I didn’t know what to say. I hugged my kids. I overlooked more messes than usual. I let them have cookies when they asked with no reservations. But otherwise, I was strangely normal. I didn’t even cry.

In times like this I go a little numb. I used to tell myself it was because I don’t have a connection — I don’t know anyone there, I don’t have kids that age. But I DO have kids that age. Rachel and Claire are 4.5. This time next year they’ll be in a kindergarten class much like the ones that were attacked.

But the thing is, I can’t fathom this kind of tragedy. I can’t fathom taking my kids to school — what should be a safe place — and then coming home with one less. One less child to tuck into bed. One less child to kiss good night. And Jesus, one less child to wake up to in the morning. It hurts my heart.

So I tried not to think about it. I prayed for the families, and the children, and even the gunman. I snuggled with my girls on the couch and watched a movie when I otherwise may have tried to do laundry or get some writing done. I still put my kids in time out when they misbehaved. I was there, but still numb. Awful thoughts tried to enter my mind, and I just as quickly pushed them out of my head.

I didn’t lose it until much later, when I went to check on them before going to bed myself. I knelt down next to their perfect, sleeping bodies and it hit me. So many parents are missing a sleeping child tonight. The bodies they were kneeling next to were not slowly rising and falling with breath. They were still and lifeless, but no less perfect.

On my run Saturday afternoon I had a mellow playlist going. Sometimes I pick a song I like and let the genius feature on my iPod do the rest. I don’t necessarily need fast paced, pump-it-up music, just something that lets my mind wander to things other than how many miles I have left to go. I thought about my grocery list, my upcoming week, and the holidays. I thought a little about Newtown as I passed the sports complex in my neighborhood where young kids — possible kindergarteners — were playing soccer. When Mumford & Son’s Timshel came on, I almost hit next, knowing it was a very slow song, but I decided to let it play. The words blew me away.

And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by the Newtown shooting and the community as a whole. If you want to help the families affected, there are many ways to get involved. Here are a few links to get you started:

Newtown Memorial Fund

United Way Sandy Hook Support Fund

Sandy Hook Victims Relief Fund on Crowdrise

Newtown Youth and Family Services

Noah’s Ark of Hope Fund. Noah was the youngest victim of the tragedy, and leaves behind 4 siblings, including his twin sister.

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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
12 Comments
  1. So many of the same sentiments. It’s just so hard to get past the thick emotion that surrounds that horrible event… So sad. Every time I look at my kids I just think “it could have been them”. :(

  2. I was unable to cry until yesterday. It hurt to think about it because I knew there were families who haven’t go answers and are screaming with pain.
    I have an ache for them that won’t go away.

  3. Oh, these lyrics are perfect. Gives words that are so hard to find right now. Thanks for sharing this…

  4. Leigh Ann, one of my G+ friends made a very moving post about being a parent this weekend. I’m going to tag you in a comment there.

    I can’t watch the video right now – one, I’m doing something else with the audio on the computer at the moment, and two, I think I’ll fall apart at it, and I can’t do that until all the kids are asleep.

  5. I didn’t cry right away, either. Not really, anyway. My voice shook as I called my dad to find out if he’d heard the news because I was worried about my mom, herself a kindergarten teacher whose classroom is the first one you see when you walk in the school – she’s always said that a mad gunman on a shooting rampage was one of her greatest fears about working where she worked. But that was before – back before the unthinkable became a reality.

    I also stifled sobs all weekend because we were busy traveling and I had to hold it together in front of Lil’ Bit. And also I just felt numb.

    But I finally broke down last night. Twice. Newtown, my family issues… it felt good to cry. Finally.

    • Kristin, I hope this coming week brings you some peace. We’re all thinking of you. Merry Christmas.

  6. Beyond what words can ever say. To have a child die is excruciating, but to have a child die, their last minutes spent in fear and violence.

    That’s what got to me, my baby’s last minutes, spent in hate from someone.

    I still am not over it.

    • That’s what gets me, Alexandra — thinking of their turmoil in those moments. And one of my fears is that someday we will get over it. I had seen the quote from Mr Rogers going around on FB (let me know if you don’t know which one I mean) and remembered it from “the last tragedy,” and although I knew it was somewhat recent, I couldn’t for the life of me remember that that tragedy was. Turns out it was the movie theater shooting in Colorado. I’m so afraid that this one will turn into “just another shooting.” These lives — no lives — should be swept under the rug.