28 December 2012

Two Weeks Later

Its been two weeks since my life and my whole families lives were completely rocked by the shootings in Newtown.  I can't quite believe it has only been two weeks.  It feels like so much longer, but I am no closer to understanding or to feeling like some change has been enacted to prevent this.  I know that both of those things are a long way off if they are even possible.

I've never been one to care much about the New Year, but this year I think I do.  2012 was tough year in so many ways.  There are some definite challenges on the horizon in 2013, but I am looking forward to turning the page on this year and getting a fresh start no matter how illusory that start is.

One good thing I can take away from this year is what I have learned about myself.  I have a new sense of myself and what I can handle as well as what is really important to me.  I think adversity can bring better self-awareness and I'm grateful for that small thing.  I know it will help me immediately and hopefully well into the future.

A quick update on my family...

My nephew and niece are doing OK.  There is still a lot to deal with for both of them, but I think they are looking forward to starting their new school next week.  I am sure there is some trepidation for them, but I believe they crave the normal routine.  I hope it will be helpful more than scary.  We spent Christmas Eve with them and it was such a treat to see them running around and smiling -- eating candy and playing with new toys as elementary school kids should be doing.  My brother and sister-in-law are hanging in there.  I worry about them as they've had so much to deal with in these last two weeks and the end of the worry will probably never come for them.   Their lives are just as changed as their children's.  All of us are in awe of our remarkable luck that we still have my nephew with us and that this time hasn't been the nightmare of our imaginings.

17 December 2012

It has been awhile...

It has been awhile since I've written a blog post.  I was starting to think that maybe I didn't want to write in my blog anymore.  Those of you who know me, know I tweet a lot and I'm on Facebook constantly.  I started blogging as kind of a public journal, but then it did turn into a way for me to keep my friends up to date and a place to record unique and mostly funny things.  Little by little, it seems like Facebook took that over.  I mean, who doesn't love instant gratification, right?  And for so little effort, it is a double bonus.

But just a few minutes ago I opened Twitter to write something and just as quickly, I closed the window and moved on.  It occurred to me that I haven't been able to tweet anything since Friday.  Since the horrible school shooting.  I am stultified by so much of this, but mostly by a desire to not make less of the grief that those who lost loved ones are feeling.  How can anything I say be relevant next to the pictures of these beautiful babies or the stories of the heroic children and first responders?  I have nothing to add on gun control or mental health, so many of you have said it so eloquently and angrily for me already.  All I can add is a simple "me too" to those posts.  I have no funds I am starting to help victims, no vigils I am planning.  All I have is my own overwhelming sadness and anger.

Then I remembered my blog.  I'm pretty sure I know everyone who reads my blog and they are all good friends.  I want to share with my friends the way I am feeling and what I have experienced.  They can read or not read and either way is ok with me.  And if by any chance you're reading this and I don't know you personally, I hope you'll understand my desire to share in this way.

My niece and nephew are students at that school.  My family is incredibly lucky because they are physically unharmed.  My niece is 8 and in 3rd grade.  She did not see anything and for that I am grateful.  She is terribly affected by losing her principal and other friends and teachers and I don't really know how she's doing, but she seems to be OK.

However, my nephew who is 6 was in one of those classrooms.  He saw the gunman and he escaped in the bathroom with some other students.  The story is still unclear, but he knows what happened and when the police office carried him out of the room he was told to close his eyes, but he didn't.  So, he saw the dead bodies of his teacher and his friends.  There were two first grade classes.  All the kids except one were killed in one class.  5 kids from my nephew's class were killed.

When I think of the terror he must have experienced I start to cry.  When I think of what he lost in those short moments, I am overwhelmed.  His life is forever changed.  And he really is still a sweet and innocent baby.  When I think of the terror everyone who faced that gunman felt and think that was the last thing so many of them felt, I want to scream.  When I think of the parents who lost their sweet and innocent babies, I want to crawl into my bed and never get out.

When I see the victim's families I am reminded at how easily that could have been me and my family.  That terrifies me.  If anything happened to Zoe, I know that I could not go on.   The fear makes me want to keep Zoe home from school and never let her out of my sight.  It makes me want to stay home and hide.  

But I know if I do that, this gunman, and all the others who have struck fear in my heart over the course of my life, they win.  And as my mother wisely said, not only do they win, but I lose.  So, I sent Zoe to school today and I went to work.  I faced the news and read all the reporting of the day.  It was hard and I am glad to be home now, safe with my family.

I am grieving for my brother and sister-in-law and my niece and nephew and the hard days they have to face at funerals this week and then as life goes on, in facing the victims families including their own next door neighbors.  I am grieving for all 26 of those people and their families and for the family of the gunman.  I am grieving for the fact that Zoe has to know about something like this.  And selfishly, I am grieving for myself, for what this has taken out of me.  It is small in comparison, but it still hurts.

I am hoping for some peace and for some change.