It’s taken a while for me to put my feelings about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut into thoughts, let alone words. It was all I could do to just put the last two posts up encouraging support for the family of one of the children who was killed, Noah Pozner. Despite the fact that I have wept countless tears and my heart has felt as though it were a gaping wound, I haven’t been able to put a cohesive thought together about it. It is truly beyond comprehension. Moreover, I cannot help the tremendous feeling of guilt that has overcome me though my own sadness… The feeling that I have been so selfish to allow the tears when I cannot for a second know the pain that these mothers are in.
I was surprised at the level that I have been emotionally affected by what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. I realized that while I was able to separate myself from the shootings Aurora, or even the most recent tragedy here in NYC, I wasn’t able to separate from this one. My son is nearly 6 and attends a public school. His class looks just like Mrs. Soto’s class, and their community is so similar to the one we live in. While the shooting actually took place in a different state, it hit home in so many ways and rattled me to my core.
I’ve noticed a shift in our reality in the days following the Newtown shooting. I was plagued with fear putting my son into school the following Monday, and leery of the public as a whole. It feels as though the air itself has changed… The atmosphere is heavy and riddled with doubt and uncertainty. My son explained the “lockdown” drill that he practiced with his school on Tuesday, and to hear the words “quiet as a mouse” and “hiding from the bad guys” even coming out of his sweet, innocent mouth just destroyed me. He doesn’t know about what happened at Sandy Hook, and I am grateful that I haven’t had to talk to him about it. I know these conversations have to happen at some point, but for now I am finding solace in his and Zoe’s innocence.
Life continues on though, and I’ve had to consciously pick myself up and forge ahead despite my doubts for our nation and a violence-free future. The only way to battle despair is with hope, so I planned to participate in Ann Curry’s #26Acts of Kindness and spread a little love to our community by handing out 2 dozen pink roses in honor of Emilie Parker.
Seeing the smiles and surprise on the stranger’s faces was the best therapy, but even more heartwarming were the smiles from my children when they saw what simple, kind gestures can do for someone they don’t even know.
I want my kids to be aware of other people and realize that we are all in this together. There are times when my entire day is turned around because someone smiled at me randomly or unexpectedly, not because they wanted or needed something from me, but just because. Living in the city it’s easy to put horse blinders on and mind my own business, but it’s the times when I’m really paying attention to the people around me that I feel the most connected-if not to them, just to myself. The more aware of each other we are, the tighter net we will weave for our community, and maybe, just maybe, it will make a difference.
Getting my children involved in positive, random acts of kindness has helped me process what happened in Newtown, though there is nothing that will make it better. I can only hope that change in some way will come from this horrible tragedy, even on the smallest scale (but hopefully on a very large scale).
If you would like to donate to Noah Pozner’s family, you can do that here. All funds go into a trust for the Noah’s siblings.
The response to my outreach for Noah has left me absolutely humbled and so grateful for this space and for all of you. Everything from vehicle loans to toys have been donated to Noah’s family, including two trees that will be planted in Central Park in honor of Noah and his twin sister (to donate to that fund, please head over here) thanks to Natalie over at Twiniversity. You all are amazing and I have seen firsthand the incredible good and generosity in people and it is truly awesome.
Outside the U.N. Building, NYC