That is the single word that headlines the Huffington post this morning and as I sit here this morning struggling to try to find the words to talk about this tragedy, I can not think of a better one than "shattered". Yesterdays events in Newtown, Connecticut seemed to emerge as if from a fog...first the initial horrific news that shocked us all and then the conflicting reports that trickled continue to trickle out as the world stands by hands over our hearts and holding back tears as we struggle with one question that no one can seem to answer.....why? How can anyone do this?!
What possible pain,...grievance,....mental, or emotional disturbance could have ever led someone to target children in this way. They could not have done any conceivable harm to the man who burst into their school with an intent to harm as many people as possible. I can't even type his name on the page....I won't. Doing so feels like humanizing him more than I am able to do right now. 20 children are not at home for Christmas this year and those families are missing their children because of him. And for those families, my husband and myself...as well as parents everywhere...ache for the pain they are experiencing and wishing for the life of us that we could do something....anything...to help. But what can anyone do in the wake of something so horrible but hold each other tightly and try to understand why this happened. Would understanding even help?
As the news came in and we began to comprehend what happened, the first thought I had were to the parents who were rushing to the school hoping to find out that their children were not one of the injured or dead.....the terror that would be in my own heart. Not more than a couple of hours ago, those families had done just what ours had....dropped their kids at off at school, gave them big hugs and told them they would see them after school. I do that everyday with no thought that they may not be there at the end of the day. What makes it so much worse is that so many were kindergartners....so small and so excited to be going to school for the first time and at the same time clutching on to our legs and not wanting to let go. And no matter how strong we want to seem to our kids so they can be confident going to school, inside we just want to hug them back and cry too. We have so many hopes and dreams for them and Kindergarten is such a big step in their growth. It's one of those moments when you wish you could keep them small forever. I have been there with both of my kids and it's why I am crying as I write this....there are no words for what those parents are feeling right now. What would I have done if this had happened to my kids? It could have...it still can...because it did happen here. I think parents across America must be feeling this right now. It may not have happened to each of us directly, but that pain is all to easy to understand and we stand, in support of those missing their children so badly and struggling with the pain.
Among those feelins is also the mute rage that I know I am feeling. Not only at the man who did this but also at the people who want to reduce this unspeakable event into a political opportunity. Like those who blame taking prayer out of schools and saying it is God's punishment...or at the very least that he did nothing to stop it because of that. How callous and unloving a response to something so unthinkable and painful ...how utterly unchristian. In the hour that we can not stop the tears there are those who feel no pain at all and chose instead to point fingers as if they understand it all....they can't because none of us do. Instead of laying that blame we should be drawing together and helping those who need it the most right now. I don't care if that tragedy is the destruction wreaked by a hurricane or the loss of those so precious to us. We need to help and heal what we can not look for some imagined fault. Have a dam heart people and practice the love you preach on Sunday.
And the gun control conversation is necessary to have, yet it still feels so painful right now. The man who did this took four guns designed for warfare....not hunting or sport...an automatic rifle and handguns to do this. Whats more, they were legally purchased by his mother who he then shot with those same guns. Anyone who doesn't think there is something wrong with that isn't in their right mind or being willfully blind. Hell...I have even heard it said that maybe if the school had hidden guns on site, no one would have died.....bullsh*t! Something is wrong with the way we handle gun ownership in this country. That much is clear. And now there are 20 grieving families as a result. Who the hell needs an automatic assault rifle?!.. and who thought there wasn't nothing amiss when a middle-aged, suburban, substitute teacher wanted to buy one? Did no one get any red flags over that or were they only concerned with the money of the sale?! And I can not fathom for the life of me what was going on in this ladies mind when she bought this type of gun....probably for her son. It is frustrating and infuriating. But, as I listen to people argue about this online and on t.v....I can't get my mind off the kids. I can't think about guns when I can't get the reports of what happened to stop echoing in my mind...the fear and terror these kids went through and how much they just wanted to go home. I cry my eyes out and I just want to hug my kids and be grateful while remembering the 20 families out there that now have a hole in their lives that can not be repaired because of the random cruelty of one man that to this moment no one understands.
I will think of this everyday that I drop my kids off at school and I think I will hug them a little tighter. I will probably worry a little more...that's what we parents do. But I also know that we have to keep moving and living. We can not let the actions of cruel men make us afraid, nor stop us from living. That is the only piece of wisdom I have, the rest of me just hurts for these families as if they are my own.
I don't know if there will ever be answers suitable to bring understanding to what happened. Even when we know why the shooter did this, we may still wonder how he could have come to those conclusions...or how anyone could do that to a roomful of children. It defy's thought, the words to describe...and the reasoning of my heart...and I can not get it out of my head.
This will be another one of those days the nation will remember forever. It will be another candle to light in sadness and in memory. But I also hope this changes us...not to become more fearful but more compassionate and aware of the way we live. How fragile our lives are and how suddenly they can change. It is a very small world we live in and what happens in it effects us all in some manner. We have to rely on each other, support each other, defend each other, love each other like our own or we will find ourselves again as we are today....shattered.
Our hearts and prayers are with you Newtown.
Until next time dear readers....go out an hug your kids today(or someone you love) and don't ever let go...