Because it still hurts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Incomprehensible pain.

One of the news websites used those two words as a headline of one of the Sandy Hook stories it was reporting on.  

Friday's event was truly a pain no parent ever wants to be able to comprehend.  

It was a loss so devastating on so many levels, but at its very core for many of us, a loss so grievous because each of those children's parents did something so normal, so routine that morning:  They sent their child to school.

As a parent, all we ever try to do is protect our children.  
From the moment we discover we are pregnant, it's prenatal vitamins, monthly doctor's visits, and steering clear of litter boxes and lunch meats.
From the moment our newborn is placed in our arms, it's putting tiny hats on their heads to protect their body temperature, placing them to sleep on their back to protect from SIDS, and washing their tiny clothes in special detergent to make sure nothing irritates their delicate skin.

We enforce wearing helmets when riding bikes, washing dirty hands before eating, and sunblock at the beach even when it's cloudy.

Then one morning you send your child to kindergarten.  
And they do not come home.

The pain is incomprehensible.

It hurts me that the tragedy of Sandy Hook makes me have more patience with my own children.  That it reminded me to give them more out of the blue hugs and kisses.  I feel guilty because shouldn't those things come naturally to me as a parent all of the time?  

But the truth is, no it doesn't.  Because life gets in the way. 
Homework must get done. Messes must be cleaned up. Manners must be taught to little boys who like to make inappropriate sounds with their armpits at the dinner table. 

And in those moments? You forget about having patience. You aren't even sure you remember when you last had it.  Maybe patience is rolling around the third row of the minivan with the stale happy meal fries and that library book that should have been returned three weeks ago.   

But then suddenly on a random Friday morning, you find patience.
And gratitude to be able to give your child a kiss goodnight.
And fear of the cold realization that you are never going to be able to fully protect your precious baby the way you want.

None of us want the horror of a treacherous event like Friday to remind us to give spontaneous hugs and kisses.  I'd much prefer the gentle reminders of Anna Quindlen.

But those little (and big) lives lost on December 14th were not in vain.
The pain of their loss will forever be incomprehensible.
But the love they have flooded this nation with over the past five days is immeasurable.

And perhaps most importantly, palpable.


  1. Beautiful. And exactly what has been on my heart.

  2. Finding the good amidst the tragedy -- I wrote from the same perspective yesterday. I have to find it in the darkest moments.
    Hugs to you and your kids.

  3. Very heavy hearted here as well. These kids are constantly in my thoughts. I am so mad, sad, upset, can't find the words for all the emotions I'm feeling today.


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