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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Devastated

Like everyone else who has heard of the terrible events yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the families and communities affected. None of us can ever make sense of what happened, but wanting to know why is part of the human condition. If there isn't a reason for something like this happening, if we can't figure out what went wrong in someone's mind, we know that terrible things can happen again. How can we protect one another from something that we cannot predict?

As I have read various news stories online, I have noticed outpourings of sadness, grief, and anger. Any and all of these feelings are natural and normal. They are part of the process of dealing with tragedy. Many people have shared their feelings about hot-button topics such as gun control, school security, and why nobody seemed to realize that a young man was on the path to destroy others' lives. Again, like everyone else, I have opinions on these subjects. I am choosing not to share them right now because I don't think this is the appropriate time or place.

I want to share some of the thoughts and emotions I have been dealing with in the aftermath of this horrible event. Everyone will be affected in their own unique way, and perhaps by sharing my feelings, I can help myself, and perhaps someone else, get through them.

Some of you know me well, and some of you might not know much about me at all. When I was seven years old, my mother died as a result of a violent act committed by my father. I do not want to go into details, but my siblings and I all saw her when she screamed for help. It was a bloody and traumatic scene. It also was an event that changed and shaped my life forever.

When I first heard the news of the shootings yesterday, I was devastated by a number of things. First, and most obviously, that innocent children's lives were taken. Then the emotions started swirling. The anger, sadness, disbelief were all there. And then it hit me, and it hit me hard. The children in the school were the in the same age group as I was when I experienced my mother's death. I know from my own experiences that the gunman did more that kill children and adults at a school. He murdered the childhoods of many of the sweet innocents that survived, just as my father did with mine. The foundations of their world have been shattered. Suddenly, in the bloom of their youth, death is their companion. Some have lost their friends or teachers or parents or siblings.

These children are like flowers in a beautiful garden. Some may appear sturdy and strong, and some may appear delicate. But when a storm comes, we can't predict which flowers are going to be damaged and which will bounce back with renewed growth and vigor. But the flowers continue to grow and still need to be nurtured with loving care. I hope that these children will find the care that they need. I hope that are able to bloom in their full glory in spite of any scars. I hope that nothing like this ever happens to another child. I hope.