That is what I have been filled with for nearly 24 hours now. I wanted to type something yesterday, but the tears have been close to the surface and I wanted to be able to think out what I wrote on this devastation-this tragedy. In the interest of full disclosure, please do not mistake me for someone who is trying to claim this tragedy as her own. I do not know anyone in Connecticut. I don’t know any of the victims. But yesterday every child who came into my department tugged at my heart. I felt grateful they were okay. I felt unspeakable sadness for the ones who are not.
20 families lost their babies yesterday. 20 families lost their hopes, their dreams, their miracles. And those are just the ones who lost children. 7 more families lost fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles. Brothers and sisters. Teachers. Now, they’re all described in just one horrible way-victims. At least one teacher died trying to shield her students from the gunman. What immeasurable bravery that must have taken-it’s hard for me to comprehend.
Yesterday as I worked in both the children’s department and the teen department, I felt this incredibly powerful urge to take all of the kids I hold dear to me and just clutch them to me and never ever let them go. I wanted to protect them from what’s out there. And I’m not even a parent, so I can’t imagine how their parents feel. Last night I lay in bed not sleeping and I said to Chief that I just couldn’t stop thinking about all those little buds. All those little feet that stopped moving. All those little hearts that stopped beating. And all the adults that died trying to get them to safety. And then I asked him how, if we’re ever given the honor of having a baby, how can we ever let it out into this world? How could we trust the world with something that is so important?
There’s a lot I can say about the need for increased gun control. I’ve been toting that barge for over ten years now-but my heart can’t go there right now. All my heart can feel is empathy and unspeakable sadness for what has happened. I don’t know what’s happening in my country. I don’t understand it, and it frightens me. And as easy as it is for me to think horrible thoughts about the shooter, my prayers and thoughts are with even him and his family, because it obviously took a very, very damaged mind to commit the atrocities that he did. I have a lot of anger in my heart for him, but I also have a lot of sadness. For him, and for everyone involved yesterday.
And for our children, who are growing up in this world today. In my church, we’re approaching the third Sunday of the Advent season. I have never gotten religious on you here, and I won’t start now, except to say that we light a candle every Sunday of Advent and on Christmas eve. The two candles that we’ve already lit are for hope and peace. Tomorrow’s is for joy. I am wishing for all of those things for the lost ones and their families, but I fear that any joy will be hard to come by for a long time. So what I can really, really pray for for them is hope and peace. Whether you are religious or not I think that is something we can all get behind.