Mound of yuck

How does one ever possibly make sense of a tragedy such as what happened in Connecticut last week? Answer: You don’t. It leaves you reeling. It shakes you to the core. It opens so many insecurities in ourselves as parents that it’s impossible to think of much else.

I really hadn’t wanted to write about the school shooting in Connecticut here; I’ve certainly kept quiet about it on Facebook for a variety of reasons. But at the same time, how could I continue on this blog and just ignore something so big, acting like nothing happened? Yes, sometimes you can sweep things under the rug, but all that does is leave a mound of yuck sticking up under the rug.

And what a mound of yuck it is.

But there’s not really much more I can say about what happened — others have written it so much more eloquently than I ever could. There aren’t enough curse words in existence to convey how I feel about what happened.

While others grapple over gun-control issues or mental-health initiatives, I sit over here quietly with my own kindergartener. It could just as easily have been her. It could have been her. And if that’s not unsettling, I don’t know what is.

I have watched exactly 15 minutes of TV news coverage of this, on the day it happened, and I had to turn it off, crying with big, ugly gasps. And I should note that I usually don’t react to news events in such a way. I try to read news articles about it each day, but soon it all quickly becomes too much and I have to do something else. I guess it’s a bit of denial, but I just can’t be okay with something like this happening in the world where I’m trying to raise my daughters.

But what can I do? On a bigger scale, probably not much, to be honest. But I’ve been tasked with the job of “mom,” which means molding two young girls into becoming good people and good citizens. I have promised to do my best by them, and this is always my goal. Always, and now more than ever. It might not mean they’ll never find themselves as victims in such an awful situation, of course. And it might not even mean that they themselves won’t make some bad choices in life. But I can do my best to guide them in the most ideal direction and after that we just have to hope for the best, which naturally is the hardest part.

Most of all, I refuse to live in fear following this incident. It changes a lot, yes, and makes you appreciate things on a much bigger level, but I will not send my child to school with hesitation. Isn’t that what the gunman often wants? To feel that ultimate power and to make others feel powerless in their presence and beyond? No way, not me. I am just one person, but I will NOT give him that satisfaction. Living in fear is no way to live, so I choose to live life and enjoy the beauty it gives us. Heroes. Shared laughter. A lingering hug. Family snuggles. A disturbed gunman might have taken that away from 20 other parents, but I refuse to let him take that from me. In their honor, I hold my kindergartener’s hand as we walk to the bus in the morning. In their memory, I sneak an extra kiss at bedtime. For them, I look forward to a joyous Christmas Day next week.

They are gone, and they were never known by me, but they are not forgotten.

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