Last week I was thinking that I would write a post about kids and dealing with pain. We have had our share of pain,both emotional and physical, around here lately (certainly nothing major but some physical ailments, a scheduled ear tube procedure and some friend trouble). Nothing major, but nonetheless, pain. I was thinking that I would write about how hard it is to see your child in pain, physical or emotional. How, as a parent, all you want to do is scoop them up, hold them and deploy your magical, protective force-field that can protect them from everything, all while having Mommy or Daddy holding them tightly in their arms. I know that's what I want to do when I see my girls sick or hurting over a friend who turned out to be not such a good friend. All things we can get through pretty easily but I still don't like to see my girls in pain.
Then Friday came.
I was running crazy holiday errands all day with Helena in tow. She was great all day and we accomplished A LOT. I was feeling really good about things. So happy that we were able to accomplish so many things in one day. We headed right to school after we finished and parked in the parent pick up line to wait for our other girls.
That was when things changed.
I put on a movie for Helena and took out my phone and opened my Facebook app. As I was scrolling through everyone's posts I was confused by the things I was seeing. I had left the house at 9:00 AM and had not been back since. I knew something had happened but I wasn't sure what so I opened my ABC News app and there it was.
In black and white.
As I started to read, the tears welled up in my eyes and eventually just poured down my cheeks. As I sat there reading about those poor babies, teachers, and staff I absolutely broke down and cried and cried. It wasn't a pretty cry or a slight cry. It was a full-on, ugly, gut wrenching, soul depleting cry. I pulled it together enough to get my girls, even though they knew something was wrong with Mommy, and I took them for ice cream.
Because ice cream helps make everything better.
Or at least we pretend it does.
After ice cream we came home and just were together. The weekend continued on, and we decided to keep the girls in the dark because we just couldn't figure out if we should tell them anything or not. We decided not to talk to them about it. I wanted to get out that force-field and keep them away from this for as long as possible. Their weekend was just like any other weekend, filled with activities and normalcy. My weekend was a bit different.
And I kept crying.
Everytime I thought about what happened or heard about it or read about it.
I'm not sure why this has been hitting me so hard exactly. If it is because I was a teacher or if it is because those babies were the same age as my babies are. Just can't seem to figure it out. But I know that it has affected me.
I have talked to my husband, friends, my mom and my sister and I still cannot wrap my head around it.
How does this happen?
Who hurts babies like that?
My husband reminded me that the Catholic, Christian thing to do is to forgive and that is the way to begin the healing. I wish I could but I don't know how to get there. I don't even know if it is my place to forgive. I just know that I am angry, hurt and incredibly sad. And I'm not sure how to change that.
I know that as I got my girls ready for school this morning, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach (as I am sure most parents felt). We all piled in to the car and headed for school. I know this school and I know these teachers. I went to school there as a child and I taught there as an adult. I know that safety is a priority and that the students are always put first. I never doubt that. but I bet those parents in Newtown felt the same way and never thought that anything would happen at their school. As I pulled away, the tears welled up in my eyes. Usually, watching my girls walk in to school together is one of the cutest and best parts of my day. Today, that is not how I was feeling.
Today I was sad.
I said a silent prayer for my girls, all of the students and teachers here as well as all of those in Newtown.
If I am feeling this way, I cannot imagine how the parents that lost a child are feeling right now. I hope and pray that those parents, teachers, staff and students can begin to find some peace and begin the healing process.