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