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.
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 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 anyone 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.
To give a hug.
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