Tonight Hailey and I went to a wonderful Christmas party. David had to work late, so it was just the two of us. We had such a fun time and ended up leaving later than we intended. This meant Hailey went down late, which tends to mess her up. I put her down, but a few minutes later, I heard her crying. I ran upstairs, pulled her out of the crib and rocked her. Usually I’ll do this just long enough to calm her down, but tonight, I didn’t rush. I rocked and sang softly. She curled up on my lap, rested her head and her right hand against my chest. Her breathing became steady and deep. I kept rocking. Every couple of minutes she would smack her lips or whisper some indistinguishable babble in a sweet voice that can only be described as angelic. I kept rocking.
My mind wandered where it has wandered numerous times since Friday morning, to the victims of the Newtown school massacre. Tears welled up in my eyes and I held Hailey a little tighter.
The tears came from so many emotions. From sadness, from love, from pure heartache, from anger and from guilt.
When hearing of the massacre the first time my heart broke. I was sick. Sick to think how the families of the victims must feel, sick at how the teachers and staff at the school must feel, sick that there is this kind of pure evil out there. I had to change the station twice to keep from breaking into tears while driving.
Then, life went on. I delivered cookies, I bought candles, I went to dinner. Then, out of nowhere the memory of the tragedy came rushing back to me. I’d feel so guilty. How unfair, I thought. How unfair that I get to have my moments of sadness, then go along with my life. How unfair that I get to thank God it wasn’t my family and get to run with them in the yard. My heart ached with pain that the families in this tragedy would never have that opportunity again. And then I’d get angry.
How could one person be filled with such hate to commit such a senseless, heinous crime? Who could do such a thing? I tried to remember his name, then stopped myself. I decided I didn’t want to know who. I don’t care to ever hear the evil coward’s name. And I don’t think any news organization should utter it. Don’t show his face; don’t say his name. He doesn’t deserve to be famous.
Say the name of Victoria Soto, a courageous young teacher that saved the lives of all her students by locking them in cabinets and closets, then was gunned down herself. Say her name and the names of those that deserve and need our love, thoughts and prayers, but don’t repeat the evil coward’s name that did this.
Clearly I have not fully processed this tragedy yet. Writing is therapeutic for me, so here I am- writing. I am still full of mixed up emotions. I’m ok with this. It means I’m not desensitized. And, to me, it would be worse to feel nothing inside than this jumbled mix of anger, love, bitterness, gratefulness and empathy I have pumping through my veins.
My goal is to work through the anger, bitterness and fear. I don’t want to feel these because to me it means the coward won. It means he spread his deep hatred and I refuse to give him that.
Instead, I’m letting my heart ache for the families and friends of the victims. I’m also focusing on the beauty and love that is evident all around us. I believe in the human spirit of kindness and giving. I see it in my family, I see it in my friends and I see it in total strangers.
Friday, before I this tragedy happened, I wrote about random acts of kindness. I believe in them more now than ever. So yes, be grateful for what you have, hug your family tight, but also pay it forward. Do something unexpected and kind for someone. Go out of your way to help someone. Whatever it is, spread love. We need it now as much as we ever have.