Sandy Hook Elementary.
December 14, 2012.
It is one of those days that I will never forget as a mother.
Unfortunately, it is a memory that is not a good one.
As we are going into the holidays, I can’t help but be reminded of the 26 families who will celebrate their first Thanksgiving and second Christmas without their loved one. Without their child (and a teacher is someone’s child too) who was taken away from them so violently by one, lone mad man’s killing spree.
There are tragedies all over the world everyday, but this one hit me especially hard. As a mother of a 4, 6 and 8 year old, I grieved for every one of those parents who lost an innocent first grader. I have a first grader and I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow, the anguish, the utter devastation of losing a child like the way the Sandy Hook parents lost their children.
I cried. I cried for days and weeks for those families. Full disclosure, I’m crying right now as I type this and the sadness comes flooding back.
A few weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy I was able to stop crying every time I dropped off my children at school. At first, I cried everyday in the carpool line. The principal, who knew that I was having a hard time with it, would see tears streaming down my face and just give me that look of reassurance that my babies would be safe. But how could she promise me that in the world we live in today? I live in a rural-type area and my kids go to a school similar to Sandy Hook.
After a few weeks, I stopped crying in the carpool line. The Christmas break gave me the opportunity to spend extra time with my kids and give me the much needed break from the reminder everyday of pulling up to the school.
Over the holidays last year, the Sandy Hook families were always at the front of my mind. We said extra prayers for them and hoped that they were able to grieve in peace.
The first day back to school after the winter break was hard. I cried in the carpool line again as the fear and sorrow that was a result of Sandy Hook came back. I wondered if I would ever be able to get past it. I was confused at the same time- as a random mom in Chicago that had absolutely no ties to Sandy Hook or any of Newtown’s residents, why was I this upset about it?
Well, those were America’s children.
They could have been anyone’s kids. It could have happened in any town. They were just like my first grader. My happy-go-lucky, silly, rambunctious, loving first grader.
As the year went on, reminders of Sandy Hook were less and less. The media stopped talking about. There was a rare update here and there, but for the most part, the town was left to grieve and rebuild their lives.
It made me a little sad to think that while these families will grieve for years and years to come, it’s business as usual to the rest of the world. But then the reality is that while we may not be talking about the school, the victims or the town everyday or even every month, they will always be in our hearts.
They were America’s children and teachers.
We will never forget them. I will never forget them.