Hold on to what is good

I live in Brookfield, CT,  less than one mile from Newtown, Connecticut’s town line.

Sandy Hook Elementary School is 6.74 miles from my house.

Yesterday morning I was at the Y in Brookfield.  One of the staff members there came up to me in the middle of my workout and asked me if I had any children in the Newtown Public Schools.

I had no idea why she was asking, although I knew something bad must have been happening.

When I got home, I received a couple calls from the kids’ schools, which were on a modified lockdown.

There was a lot of confusion.  Talk about a shooting in Newtown.  One child killed.  The principal killed.  An officer killed.  A second gunman on the loose.

I was hoping it had turned into an awful game of telephone.  Hopefully people were making it out to be much worse than it actually was.

And then, at 1:00, it ran across the bottom of the television screen.

26 people killed.  18 of them children.  Maybe more.

Most of us spent the rest of the day crying…  Shaking.  Questioning.

And not just here in Connecticut.

Everywhere.

Numbers 1 and 2 came home from school with knowledge of the situation.  We spoke with them.  They appeared to be okay.  Shaken, but okay.

Numbers 3 and 4 were completely unaware of anything.

How their teachers and bus drivers made it through the day, staying strong for those kids, I have no idea.

But I am beyond grateful for that.

For them.

For Mrs. O, and Mrs. P, and Miss P.

For allowing my 6 and 7-year-old to remain unscathed and innocent.

For a couple more hours.

I still have not spoken to them about it.

I wanted to give them one more night.

One more night, in front of the fire, with the Christmas tree shining, and their mom and dad and brothers and sisters sitting close by.

Today I will talk to them.  I will be honest.  And direct.

But I will not scare them.

And I will not allow a very sick individual to take their spirit away from them, as he did to so many little angels yesterday.

It would be very easy to allow myself to be consumed by grief, and by countless “what ifs?”

But I also refuse to allow a very sick individual to rob my children of a mother for one second.  A mother who is smiling.  And positive.  And present.

While a terrible and unfathomable event took place yesterday, this world is still a wonderful place.

Filled with beautiful things.

Seven of them are right here in this house.

Seven human beings who can grow up to make people smile.

Or laugh.

To give a hug.

Or encouragement.

To build awareness.

Seven children who can make a difference.

Seven human beings who can point out the ways in which the world is still a wonderful place.

Last night I went to the grocery store.  It was a surreal experience.

The Christmas music was playing over the speakers, but everyone was silent.

People who would normally walk past each other without a second thought looked directly into each other’s eyes.

Many of those eyes were filled with tears.  But they were also filled with love.  And warmth.  And compassion.

I saw Number 5’s preschool music teacher.

As soon as I made eye contact with her, I burst into tears.

She looked at me with a smile in her eyes.

And she gave me a hug.

The world is still filled with wonderful people.

And then, on my way home, I saw this.

And for a second, I forgot everything.

The world is still full of wonderful things.

There is still Peace out there.

And I’m going to try to spread some today.

I hope you can all find a way to do the same thing.

 

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

~  Mary Frye

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Comments

  1. Lisa says

    A beautiful post, Susie. You help put it in perspective if that is even possible. Hugs to you and your 7.

  2. Linda says

    Each of us are messengers of PEACE, LOVE, JOY, and HOPE in a world of darkness.
    Let your LIGHT shine to overcome the darkness.

  3. Kristen says

    I couldn’t be strong, I was reading the news, looked at my six year old son, and burst into tears.

  4. Sandy Boyer says

    Oh boy. That was so moving and so powerful. I first heard the news when I read it on the computer on Yahoo news. I couldn’t bear the pictures so I knew the tv was out of the question. We have been praying alone and with the entire congregation at church for all of the people senselessly killed. Our priests sermon was all about them. He was like you. Positive and HOPEFUL. The whole congregation was crying.and it was such a beautiful sermon. There have been more people at morning Mass during the week too. Not that I go every morning but I hit it every so often and there is usally like three women about a hundred years old wearing the old fashion head covering as they slowly and painfully walk up to the front pew. I get so nervous when they genuflect that they won’t get back up! You are right. This tragedy has has shaken the whole nation. You are so awesome, holding it together for your seven little darlings. How scarey that you are so close. I knew it was in your state but no idea it was right next doorIt’s all just so hard to even comprehend. Thank you for your great message. Beautifully written blog,