Monday, December 17, 2012


On Friday afternoon, one of the teachers at my kids' school posted the following message on our community facebook page: 
"FYI - I would lay down my life for your children."

It had been such an emotional day, it was hard to hold it together at work in the midst of planning contingency rain plans for the Christmas party that afternoon, it was hard to let the excitement of the kids at my school permeate the deep, dark funk that had enshrouded me. It was hard to keep the tears at bay. It was hard to swallow around that lump of ..... what? How can we characterize a reaction to something that has no place in our reality? It was just there. Solid and sordid and awful and wrong. Just there, as the news reports came and the mistakes were corrected and the faces of the victims took away the last shred of incredulity and forced us all to accept that this world of ours is forever changed. Now we live in a world where something like this can happen. 

I don't want to be comforted by the knowledge that a teacher would sacrifice herself for my kids. I don't want to tell myself that she would never be called to such horrific action. I don't want to feel better about this. 

I know that I have to comfort my kids, I know I have to find something to say that will allow them to carry on with optimism and hope for the future that they will create. And so it goes. By saying comforting things, I begin to feel comforted.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” - Mr. Rogers

And so the boulder begins to break down. The weight begins to lift. The air I breathe becomes less toxic.

But I'm cheating. I'm not watching the news. I'm not looking at their faces. I'm not listening to their stories.

I don't know what to do.

Sandy Hook School Support Fund

Newtown Youth and Family Services

Newtown Parent Connection

How to Help Families Affected by Newton School Shootings


Me, You, or Ellie said...


To quote that great Onion piece:

“I…” said Tom Miller, 27, after reading an article about the tragedy online. “I just…”

“…” he added.

Beautifully articulated, Jacquie, as always.

And although we know that hope and good thoughts and love and generosity can do nothing to change what happened, well, what else to we have to cope with what's ahead?

I know I have to find something to say that will allow them to carry on with optimism and hope for the future that they will create.

Thanks for the links. And may I offer an additional suggestion? Local food banks are always in desperate need during the holidays -- for donations, for volunteers, for money. And one can donate in honor of someone else.....

Thank you. Love you.

Beth said...

I have to admit that as soon as I read the title of this post, I did not want to read it. I am definitely cheating, as you say. I know that it happened and I am deeply saddened and incredibly disturbed. But I am also really angry, about so many things. About how divided our country is on so many issues. About how a tragedy of this nature has people immediatly taking sides, and issuing blame. I just cannot read another comment saying taking school prayer out of our schools is to blame, or that guns are to blame, or that bad parenting is to blame.

There are so, so many things that are broken. I certainly have my own opinions.

But my god, it's so overwhelming, isn't it?

What to do? How to help?

Thank you for the links. We can start there.


Noelle said...

You do not disappoint Jacquie. I find myself coming to this blog for a perspective on the lighter side of life and you all do it so well. Thank you all for that. But today you have also put into words and captured feelings that can't be captured or written. Thank you for that as well.

Anonymous said...

I have decided that I know what to do. I am not going to stay silent on the subjects of gun control or access to mental health any longer.

I feel as though I was a lobster in a pot of water and I finally realized that I'm going to get boiled unless I do something.