It seems almost impossible to move beyond this holiday season and start a new year while we leave behind those twenty angelic faces in Newtown, Connecticut. I have spent many days wondering how anything so tragic could have happened and my emotional state has been seemingly changed forever. I have shed many tears as I have watched all the tributes on television over the past few weeks from comic (Saturday Night Live) to musical (The Voice) to sports events that one of the young victims would have been watching. Each of the tributes has struck me the same way; how can we possibly just move on with our lives?
I am glad to see that the media has not forgotten the tragedy as we begin the New Year. As a parent, I wonder if the trauma from such a heinous act will endure. For all parents who do the responsible thing each weekday morning sending our beloved children to school, the impact is huge. The assumption of safety has been stripped out of every school in America and has been replaced with vulnerability that may never be resolved. Teachers and administrators reaching out to communities with new security measures and lockdown procedures cannot possibly settle our nerves enough to forget the risk included in that kiss goodbye each morning. Who would have thought that anyone who wanted to be a teacher would be taking a life-threatening position that requires the skills of a security guard or police officer?
As we enjoy the advances in our technological world where we can communicate with anyone in the world in a matter of seconds, we also expand the threat of fame-hungry killers who only want to leave a legacy of devastation and sorrow. The massacre of the twenty children who represented everything good about life and the adults who tried to protect them flew around the world instantly causing every parent to question some of the most basic choices we make when raising our children. A psychotic killer who was unknown before December 14, 2012, will forever be remembered worldwide by name, by chilling picture, and of course, by his horrendous final acts. I only hope that our lawmakers will change the gun laws in the United States, which may help us sleep a bit better at night and worry less during the day.
As we start the New Year, we all think about those families who have been permanently scarred and wonder how they will ever recover from unimaginable loss. I imagine the grieving parents waking each morning to a dreadful reality that no longer includes the precious personalities we have been seeing and reading about since that sickening Friday afternoon. I ache for those parents who suddenly bring a whole new meaning to the term “ChildDrenched”. They may never fill the void left by the child they knew so well and for such a short time. I wonder if the phrase “time heals all” applies to an incident like this.
I find myself thinking about it several times a day and will probably never fully recover. The parents and families of those lost require a different kind of recovery and I hope they have felt the outpouring of emotion, support and condolences from across the nation. The sheer number of new petitions demanding more gun control lets us know that no one feels safe now. I know life includes heartache for everyone who has the capacity to love, but this tragedy has truly tested our faith in humanity. I hope we don’t lose faith in our schools, our teachers and those among us that care about human life. Sadly those that don’t have the same values often communicate in ways we cannot fathom.
As we learn about the victims, each of those twenty children represented joy and optimism. In the next few months, I will do my best to think of those children as leaving a legacy of hope for all the children that represent our future generation, including my own. It is that legacy alone that we should all choose to remember in the New Year.