I’ve never felt my heart hurt this much for strangers, for society, for the word my children will grow up in.
I’m so lost. So confused. So hurt. So sad. So tired of fighting back tears. So tired of trying to make sense of the senseless. I feel so unbelievably helpless right now that I don’t even know where to start when thinking about moving forward.
I just don’t know what to do, where to turn, what to say. My brain is forever scarred…again.
How? How do these parents who lost their children even open their eyes? How do the loved ones of any the victims find the will to go on? How does one even begin to face the world that took 20 innocent children and 6 of their heroic, selfless protectors in such tragic fashion?
I just don’t know.
As I look at the world with new eyes, I’m suddenly shocked by much of what I see. I can’t help but notice that the majority of the top downloaded apps are violent in nature. I now wonder about where our appetite for these “dark reboots” of popular movie franchises comes from. While I always used to just shake my head at how the beautiful message in the animated movie Cars was flipped on its head in Cars 2 as a shoot ’em up spy movie, now this worries me greatly as a father. What do these trends say about our society?
I don’t know that either.
Right now I’m simply holding onto the good I see in the world with all I have. I’m buoyed by a quote I’ve never seen before that surfaced in the wake of this tragedy by Mister Rogers, “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.”
There is good in this world and we saw evidence of such in Newtown, CT.
Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach heroically lunging at the shooter in an attempt to stop him. Selfless, brave acts that cost both of them their lives. Behavioral therapist Rachel D’Avino and teacher Anne Marie Murphy both reported to have died shielding their students from gunfire. Substitute teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, hired as a permanent substitute teacher only weeks earlier, killed fulfilling her lifelong dream. While the stories of teacher Victoria Soto’s heroics are still unfolding, reports are she was able to divert the killer initially after hiding her students in a closet, only to then sacrifice her life later shielding them from gunfire when he returned. Teacher Kaitlin Roig who hid her students in a bathroom during the shootings and told them, “I need you to know, that I love you all very much and that it’s going to be okay,” and as much as anybody who survived this ordeal could be, they were okay.
These are the stories that need to be told right now. This is the good in the world, these are the helpers.
On Sunday night during the interfaith vigil at which President Obama spoke, I couldn’t help but notice a police officer, seemingly his mid 30s and simply too young, being hugged and consoled by more veteran looking officers. The grief I saw in his eyes made me think that he must have been one of the first responders on the scene and what it must have been like to bear witness to such horror. My heart goes out to everyone who was faced with addressing the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, and my eternal thanks given for a job I can’t even imagine doing. These first responders are the good in this world, these are the helpers.
I saw this good again in every teacher who bravely returned to work on Monday, every parent who reluctantly saw their kid(s) off to school.
There is good in this world and my family and I are going to do more of it. My hope is that we influence those around us to do the same. We need to be better to each other. The challenges we all face on a daily basis are only getting harder and ever more complex. We need each other now more than ever and this is something I’m going to focus on practicing myself and teaching my boys. The day either one of them decides to join the shy kid sitting by himself at lunch because they want to do so in their hearts, will be the proudest day of my life.
There is good in this world, and right now more than ever, we need more of it.
This I know.
Remember these names: Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel D’Avino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli , Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Gabrielle Russeau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt.