I've always tried to keep where I lived close to me. It seems that I have to let you all know. I live in Newtown, Connecticut. We have lived here for the past 6 years. We CHOSE Newtown to raise our children. We CHOSE Newtown for it's fantastic schools. We chose it here for its safety. We chose it here for it's community and family-centered living. We chose it because it is beautiful.
The last 12 days have been some of the worst of my life. For so many of my friends, it is and will forever be the worst.
20 babies the same age as my son were brutally murdered in their classroom. Friends of ours lost their babies. Playmates of my son, lost their lives. A siblings in my daughter's class lost their sister. MY daughter's piano teacher lost her son. It could have been my son's classroom. He is in 1st grade. Those of us here in town, know it could have been any of our kids in those classrooms. We are a tight community that always run into each other at various activities for our kids. We are intertwined.
Over the last week, I have witnessed the worst grieving I've ever thought possible. At the same time I've also seen the most lovely in people. I've been to too many wakes and services. I've seen the streets of our small town overrun with media and police escorted processsions, one after the other it seemed, of those we lost. I looked into the eyes of mothers, my friends, who had to bury their babies. I wept with them, I wept with countless old and new friends who are also grieving. The gravity is so heavy. The complexity of emotion so deep. The layers and layers of grief seem to be exposed even more with each passing day.
I've had to tell my kids that they have lost friends. I've had to explain why my daughter had to stay under a table with the rest of her classroom for 1 hr and 45 minutes before it was clear that there wasn't another gunman on the loose where her school was-near Sandy Hook on that terrible Friday. I have had to explain, why there are so many police in town. Why there are armed ploice outside and inside their schools. I've had to watch my children grieve, in their own way, both in weeping and in acting out, the only way they know. I've had to watch my kids clutch therapy dogs for their own comfort and then turn around and comfort ME as I lay numb or sobbing - one of the two most frequent emotions over the last couple weeks. No one should have to have these conversations with their 6 and 10 year olds. Innocence has been lost. The very thing we wanted for our kids, torn away. For that I'm angry.
I am personally struggling on how to return to this place here on my blog - to celebrate and endorse beautiful memory keeping of life, when so many of my friends won't have any more memories with their babies. My priorities have shifted for certain for me. I'm not sure where it leads me right now.
I know there are many of you who have asked how can you help? There are a ton of funds out there right now and honesly, I haven't had the time or energy to look them all up. One that I am aware of is through Newtown Youth and Family Services, our local established non-profit for families here in town. There is a link there for donations. Please remember those who have siblings left behind, and the babies who were at the school that day - so many children in town have been through an unimaginable hell and will need support for a very long time.
Please hug your children. Pray for peace. Hope that love will always be stronger than violence.