Two years ago tonight, twenty families in Newtown, Connecticut tucked their first graders into bed for the very last time. These children got on their pajamas, some of them might have bathed, they brushed their teeth, complaining about it, I imagine. Their moms and dads might have read them books and sung them songs. And then, for the very last time, they turned out the light and said. “Good night.”
Those moms and dads would never tuck their first graders into bed again, as each of them was gunned down in their classroom in Sandy Hook Elementary by a disturbed young man, Adam Lanza, who also shot six brave adults at the school after killing his own mother in her home.
I changed that day as a mother and as a blogger. I started using my voice against the rising tide of preventable gun violence in America.
Having lost a daughter myself to an aggressive brain tumor, something no one could have ever prevented, my heart broke open to imagine that twenty more moms and twenty more dads would mourn their own young child because of something that could have been prevented. Losing a young child defies the natural order of how we all imagine life is supposed to be. Losing a young child to gun violence is, for me, unimaginable.
I can try to imagine it, but I stop myself, as it is too painful. I look at my boy tonight, on the cusp of six himself in just a few short weeks, a gap in his smile where his very first tooth fell out last week, the curl that covers his forehead, the weary smile on his face after a day of birthday parties.
The idea of blood on him, his blood, turns my stomach. The idea of holes in him turns my stomach. The idea of the fear those children must have felt in their last moments on earth turns my stomach. The idea of what the screams in that classroom must have sounded like turns my stomach. The idea of how the events that day two years ago in Sandy Hook Elementary have become a political hot potato turns my stomach.
I know some of you are tired of reading my words about guns. I certainly know that I am tired of reading the hateful comments I receive when I write about them. But I will keep doing it, as, to me, it seems the most effective way I can encourage change in our world. Tonight, though, I don’t want to debate, but instead remember. I remember those 26 individuals who died in a school in Newtown, Connecticut two years ago.
And as I remember that day two years ago, I think about those moms and dads I have never met, but who have somehow managed to wake up each and every day since and keep moving forward. I think about how sudden and shocking their losses have been. I think about how some of them might choose to sleep in their dead child’s bed tonight, grasping at any sliver of a chance to feel their little one close again. I think about all the families who will visit a cemetery tomorrow, and lay a wreath on the stone of someone who was taken from them much too soon. I think about the names and the faces and the missing teeth of all those first graders. I think about all the tears that are falling right now, as the sorrow of their loss overwhelms.
I hope you do, too, as you tuck your own little ones into bed tonight.
Click HERE to read a post written by Nicole Hockley, mother to Dylan Hockley, Sandy Hook victim, aged 6.
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