Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown: The Morning After

Dear Newtown,

You woke up on Saturday morning, just as you will wake up every morning from now on.You'll roll over, eyes bleary. You'll look at the clock, check the weather, and sigh... or cry... or go back to bed and pull the covers over your heads.

It's just too much to bear.

You woke up with a hole in your lives, a hole that cannot be filled, no matter how well intentioned friends and family might be, no matter how much love is riding the tidal wave to your town. The school bus.... the breakfast dishes.... the toothbrush in the SpongeBob cup.... the ornament she made last Christmas hanging front and center on the tree he decorated two nights ago... before ….

Your world is divided: Now and Then. There's no going back. I know. I've tried.

What you want, you cannot have. You don't want very much, just to have things be as they were on Wednesday night, when you tucked your sons and daughters into bed, visions of sugar plums and vacation dancing in their heads. You want to urge her to finish her pancakes because the bus won't wait if she's late. You want to remind him to feed the puppy before he eats his own meal. You want normal.

It's gone.

It's not a new normal – there is nothing normal about it. It's awful and it doesn't go away. You will learn how to manage the feelings, how to find a place to rest your hearts as you go about the grocery shopping and the laundry and snow shoveling. The everyday pieces need tending, because life goes on.

You'll come to recognize the signs of incipient panic, or, perhaps. a rage that starts at your toes and explodes out of the top of your heads. You will pray and you will hug and you will never be whole again.

That's the beast in it all – it never really goes away. You learn to work around it, but it's always there. It's not a disease from which you can recover.  It is what it is and there's no way to make it better.

I am three weeks shy of the second anniversary of my own brush with gunfire and death, 101 weeks without my little nine year old friend. While you were facing your first morning after, I went to Stuff the Hummers with toys at an event sponsored by the foundation her parents created to keep her memory alive. It will honor Christina-Taylor, but it won't bring her back.

And that's what you want – you want your little ones back. All you did was send them to school. There shouldn't be any guilt, any second guessing, any what if's, but it will take some time to figure that out. And then, even then, it won't make much of a difference.

The conversation will go to the lack of political will on regulating gun ownership and the lack of funding for mental health services and the commentators will rant and petitions will be signed and outrage will be felt.... but none of it really mattered in Newtown that morning, and all the mornings since then. It's all still too raw.

There will be time to move forward, to do good deeds in their name, to rebuild.  There will be time. You will find a way to face the days.  I promise. It will come, in time.

That morning and this morning, it's all about loss.



  1. You are a gift, A/B. I love the way you word things....couldn't have said it better. We mourn together. <3

  2. I thought about you a lot this weekend. Lots of love.

  3. Thanks AB. Life does go on, but it will never be the same life as it was before. I've cried so much over the weekend. My heart is just so heavy it actually hurts. I cannot believe we are here yet again! It's wrong and it has to stop. How many more children have to die before we do something--anything to combat this evil in our society. I agree we need to first address mental illness in this country. It's the taboo that no one wants to talk about. I freely admit that I suffer from depression. I have no problem admitting that to anyone because I know without my meds, I'm a basket case. We have to admit that mental illness is real and a problem. We also need to address illegal guns (although Lanza took his mother's legally registered guns). Don't even get me started on that.

    I'm sending you a warm hug because every time this happens, it just brings back all the pain to those that know this all too well.

    Megan xxx

  4. Dear A/B, I knew these events would be hard on you, as they are hard on us all. I knew you would have honest and empathetic comments. I am so sorry that this pain keeps being thrown in our faces. Thank you for keeping your heart open; you are so brave! Tenderly, Berta

  5. I too thought of you this weekend, and thought that if anyone has an inkling to the pain the town is feeling, it is you and Tucson. Thank you for sharing these words. I have posted them to my Facebook page.

  6. I can think of no one more qualified to write this than you.

    I have seldom been as upset as I was on Friday and Saturday. The events in CT (and a few other things) landed me in the hospital for observation. I still cringe and tear up when I see anything about the tragedy on TV, so I'm not watching. It is still too raw.

  7. I figured this would be hard on you and others who have survived events as senseless and tragic. I've talked to parents who lost a child and even when it's for reasons they can understand better, it's the worst thing there is to have happen. It's not supposed to be that way. Words don't help but maybe yours will given you have been through it.

  8. Oh where to begin? My niece was at Virgina Tech during that massacre, and then you and Christina Taylor fell victim to a deranged gunman. My mind can't wrap itself around the commonality of this horrific violence. Thanks for the link to Demand a Plan, I posted it on my blog, too. My thoughts are with you and I pray this event becomes a call to action.


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