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Sandy Hook and … life

Emilie Parker, age 6. Rest in peace, dear child.

I can’t stop thinking about Sandy Hook. Specifically, I can’t stop thinking about the parents of the slain children.

Where do they go from here? What do they do?

This isn’t something you recover from; something you move past. Your life is, in many regards, ruined forever. There’s no getting past this; no great days at the beach, wonderful vacations, moments in the sun. Never. Ever. Ever. You are permanently haunted; permanently scarred. You blame yourself. You blame timing. You blame the shooter, and want to kill him. Only, he’s already dead. So you can’t.

Right now—at this very moment—there are rooms loaded with clothing. Towels, still filled with odors and stains, hanging from the back of bathroom doors. The bed is still messy from the last time your child got up. There are dishes in the sink covered with his/her last crumbs. There are photographs everywhere. There are videos; YouTube clips. Your calendar is marked down with play dates; with Christmas week plans. You can hear your child’s laugh; your child’s cry. You’re imagining, in your head, what those last moments were like for him/her. You try and push it out of your head … but you can’t. It’s stuck there, like mold.

How does a person move past this? How does a person go on living? For some, it comes in having other children to care for. They need you. Your guidance. Your strength. For others … I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

6 replies on “Sandy Hook and … life”

My brother was shot in 1991 in a drive by shooting at 20 years old. I don’t think a parent ever moves past it. New days come and you learn to live without your loved one. It was the saddest thing to watch my parents go through. The holidays, the birthday, the day they died. There is sad and devastating days each year, but time does heal and you learn to smile, and you some how you go on for your other kids. So many times in life when this type of thing happens, many many people come into your life that have suffered horrible losses and they comfort and help you heal. God Bless, Sandy Hook, I am praying for all of you.

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I just read what you have written about the Newton massacre. I have neither read nor heard anything better than your words. Not just the words…the ideas they represent.
I am 78. I am still capable of tears.
Later, I thought, remembered, when I was a child…for me and my younger brother…for every kid…parents did not worry when we were sent off to school. Or anywhere else, for that matter. The word /safe/ had entirely different meanings and none had anything to do with the world we now live in.
I can only partly imagine the suffering these parents are experiencing. It is a kind of pain and horror that no one ever should know.

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As a father of two young kids, I am consumed with anger and gut-wrenching grief for these poor children and their families. What little faith I had in mankind is now completely shattered. We woke up today to a different world with different rules. Do we send the children back to school Monday? Do we wait to see if new safety measures are put in place? Do we want them participating in the inevitable dialogue about the killings that their school will advocate? I don’t know what is best. I just want to keep them safe from harm. In the back of my head I keep hearing Bob Dylan singing, Lord Protect My Child: “My only prayer is if I can’t be there, Lord protect my child…”

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well written Jeff, you, like many parents around the world have tried to put yourself in those parents’ shoes, impossible to do obviously. Terrible place, can’t begin to imagine, hope never to experience.

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One of my biggest concerns and what has caused me to weep is the children that survived.
As one boy said, he saw bullets flying by.
As a parent and a grandparent the loss of any child is sad and traumatic, but sometimes we forget about the ones that survived, they are injured too.

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I’m a parent of a first grader. I can’t stop thinking about this. We have armed guards protecting banks. Stores pay guards to protect merchandise. Our children are more valuable than anything. We have come to a very sick place in our society; we have to put armed guards on our schools. Time will not heal the wounds these parents have endured. I hope that the passage of time will deaden the pain some. What meaning can life have after something like this?

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