This is just one more blog post, written about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th. There are, I’m sure, thousands of these posts but, like most other people, I feel so helpless and, in a way, selfish about needing to write about how I am feeling.
I mean, really. What possible need do I have that can compare to what the families of those snuffed-out souls need right now?
But the fact is, I’m devastated by those deaths. Not because I knew them and not because I was related to them, but because twenty small, innocent children and six adults were brutally murdered. Normally, deaths in the news are a bummer. Having worked at a newspaper, I read and saw depressing things every day and I can usually rationalize them away, trying to make them seem fictional.
They were doing something stupid and deserved what they got.
They were terrible, horrible people and deserved and the world is better without them.
They died while doing something they loved.
Those children and adults died with hearts full of confusion, terror and pain. I received the AP news update early Friday morning that a gunman was reported at a school. As bad as it sounds, I figured there would be stand-off and after a short time the gunman would be arrested. End of story. But as the morning unfolded and as my phone lit up with update after update, it became clear that this was not like most of the other occasions.
Shots were fired and people were killed. Then the news that children were being targeted.
Like most parents on Friday, all I wanted was to bring my own children home from school and hold them tight. I grabbed my napping toddler from the next room and brought her out to the living room couch, so that I could hold her while she slept, as I watched the news.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very real ability to empathize with people. Their pain becomes my pain. I can almost literally feel their anguish and heartache. Realizing these children were killed were the same age as my son, made it almost unbearable to think about, as I imagined my son in that situation. Then came this tweet from VDog, someone I follow on Twitter:
My heart sank even further. Then, several hours later, VDog posted this tweet:
That’s when I really felt numb and angry. I cried for those families whose children went off to school on a sunny Friday morning, not knowing they would never, ever hear their child laugh or see them smile again. No more Christmases or Hanukkahs. No more opportunities to wish them a happy birthday and no more nights to say tuck them in and say, “I love you.”
I may be a bad father because I haven’t told my kids about what happened and I haven’t sat them down to share the fear with them. I’ve wanted to let them go on being children. Children who are sweetly and blissfully ignorant of these kinds of evil. I’ve tried to reprimand them less this weekend and enjoy them more. Sleepovers happened. More cookies and desserts were consumed than there probably should have been. I cheered harder for my son at his basketball game. Time was spent with them. Games were played and a lot more random hugs and “I love you’s” were said.
At this point in my life, I’m not sure what my faith is. I’m confused and more often than not, angry at whomever/whatever is up there pulling the strings. What I do know is that I believe those innocent ones who were murdered on Friday, are somewhere better and, hopefully, the shooter is suffering until the end of days in some terrible hell.
All I can do is think happy thoughts for those families, going through the worst kind of pain in what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. If you would like to help out the family of Noah, VDog’s nephew, you can do so by making a donation through PayPal. Donated money will be used to pay for Noah’s burial expenses, meals for the family during this difficult time, and counseling services for the family and for Noah’s siblings.
Be good to each other and tell those close to you what they mean to you. You never know when you may be out of chances.