Thursday, January 24, 2013

Newtown Heavy on My Heart

Every single day since it happened, I have thought about those families affected by the killer in Newtown, Connecticut. I can't let it go... I keep thinking about how the lives of the victims' families are ruined forever, never to be the same. I keep thinking how they were just babies, precious little babies. I keep thinking about that teacher who hid her students - how did she have the presence of mind to do that? Amazing. I keep thinking about the first people on the scene and how they are scarred for life, as well, and how they will never be the same. I keep remembering President Obama when he spoke to our nation with tears coming out of his eyes. I myself seldom cry, but every time I think of this tragedy, tears seem to leak out.

Back when I was fresh out of college, in the "real world" for only a couple of years, I had the opportunity to take part in grief counselor training. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I worked at a grade school, at the time, as a librarian and an office clerk for an elementary school with Kindergarten through third graders. I knew every single kid in that school by name, all 400 of them. I feel so blessed to have been chosen to take part in Crisis Response Training (that was the official name), and I still remember the people I went through the training with. Later, when I landed my position at a high school and elementary school as the main secretary, I became the head of the Crisis Team, and I thank God we had a team, because there came a time when we needed it - one day in April, a mere month and a half before graduation, one of our beloved senior students shot and killed himself. This set off a chain of suicides in the community, and we were lucky to have had a Crisis Plan in place and a team to help with the grief. I remember how strong I was for all the kids and anyone who needed me, how emotionally exhausting it all was, how thankful I was to have had crisis response training and how I went to the funeral of the kid I had known since he was a toddler. I attended it with my parents, was fully prepared to console others, but didn't think to bring a single tissue for myself. Imagine my surprise when my own grief made an appearance and I couldn't stop the tears falling from my eyes, no matter how hard I tried. My dad saved the day by supplying me with his hanky, which was a sopping mess of snot and tears within seconds.

So I think of this when I think of Connecticut, and I remember how everyone eventually goes on. In fact, I haven't seen anything about the massacre in the news for quite a while, now. The world, it seems, has moved on. But not those families who were involved. No, not them.

I am so tired of all the opinions on gun control and politics. I want to scream every time I see a Facebook post about what should and shouldn't be done. And to go a step farther, I am astonished at how narrow-minded, selfish and tunnel-visioned people are in their political views. Does anyone ever think of anyone besides themselves when they are forming their opinions and blasting them into the atmosphere? I have an opinion, too - I wish certain school officials were armed, but I don't think every teacher should be. I believe people should have the right to bear arms, but I don't think they need to have assault weapons. I don't believe in "God-given" rights - who are we to say what He thinks about gun control? I wish all the video games depicting real-life shooting scenarios could be abolished, but I'm not so naive as to believe this will ever happen.

The bottom line for me is that there is good and evil in the world, no matter what the circumstances. There was a priest who spoke on the news the weekend this nightmare occurred, and his words helped me wrap my mind around it better than anything else I have seen. He said as evil as this act was, the love the world responded with was at least some good that came out of it. Hopefully, that love will inspire great things. He also reminded me that God loves us so much, he was willing to risk a small portion of the population to give us all the gift of free will. Yes, free will is a gift we often forget about. It is sickening what that kid did with his free will, but he chose to follow evil, and because of that, lives were ruined forever.

I pray the love that came from this tragedy will keep spreading. I pray that people will continue to be kind. I pray people will stop worrying about their rights and worry more about just being good and nice and kind and loving. I pray for every single person affected by this horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I send my love to all of them, because even though my life has been humming along, I know theirs have not. And so I'm doing the only thing I can for them. I'm praying.

1 comment:

  1. Your post made me cry ~ I too have been really affected by the shooting and have been seeking out closure or something since it happened. why? how? what now? and those families and those tiny babies and those that lived and have to figure out what to do now? i cannot CANNOT even imagine the darkness that that sick boy had inside him - it is truly one of the saddest things i ever watched unravel. and here i was safe with my two boys in my home. i even hugged and started to cry his two preschool teachers and thanked them for doing their jobs - i think i weirded them out -but i was so scared for them. that is not in their role? i chatted with all my teacher friends and they said there is nothing that they can do or really prepare for and that scares them but they both sounded so strong - like it was a stroke of evil and it won't happen again but if it does now they know because of those brave teachers and students and administrators what to do - breaks my heart. thank you for writing your thoughts about it.
    i am with you about the politics - there is no way around it people want to "solve" it prevent and sometimes the answer partially lies in laws and politics - i am totally afraid of guns having watched my neighbor shoot himself when iw as just five years old - he was drunk and shot himself while sitting in his car - so i didn't "see" it like in a movie i just heard him yelling for his daughter to call the cops and then POW i remember it so vididly. he was my dad's hunting buddy - and when the cops came they talked to me, i was scared and i remember my dad crying - he sold all his guns and didn't go hunting the rest of my childhood which was a strange thing in coos bay. he eventually came around but i have always been very wary of guns. pete has lots of them and a safe on every floor! the one by our bed in a hand gun safe that you can unlock fast, one in his truck in a special safety locked case too, and a big safe in teh basement. i agree about 'god given' that is BS - i think guns cause a lot of pain but also can make you feel protected if you respect them (and like me aren't scared to death of them) and they can be part of a sport that keeps men bonding and our freezers full of good lean meat... (i do like it) man this is getting long!
    ugh - ok -anyway, no answers here! just an empathatic mom as lost as you about how to heal so many broken hearts.
    xoxo coley


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