Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Aftermath

Some reflections since Friday afternoon.  Once again, I'm not nearly a good enough writer to really convey what I really want to in the way that I want to.  But this is a place to share some of what I've been thinking about.

Events like this bring out extreme- and diverse - reactions in many.

Some people have gone media silent.  I respect that.  Reliving a tragedy over and over is awful.  Looking at those pictures can be too much to bear.

Some people are sharing pictures, candles, cards, to show support.  There are a few people on Facebook I've seen who seem to share everything they come across.  I understand that.  You see something that tugs at your heart and you can't pass it by. 

Some people react with anger, with debate, with snide comments about divisive issues.  I understand that too I guess.  But I hate it.  I hide those people on my feed (sorry if you're one of them). 

I do understand that when something horrific happens, you want to do something.  Because it's too hard to acknowledge that we live in a world filled with evil.  But I'm still not ready to say this is the time to react with anger.  And I'm sorry, but no matter what it might feel like on any given day, I don't think any real change is made via Facebook.  Or Twitter.  Or commenting on a news story.  Raging against someone who feels there is a different solution doesn't bring back those lives or assure anyone it won't happen again.  I won't read these things.

Events like this bring out the good in people.

No, it won't bring the innocent back.  No, it won't erase the horrific memories burned into the memories of the kids, the teachers, the first responders.

But Christmas trees were donated to line the street in Newtown.

Teddy bears were donated for every child in the Newtown schools.

Monroe (a neighboring town) has already offered up a vacant school as a new home for the Sandy Hook community, as soon as they are ready.  Many in CT have offered supplies, as well as to help get the school set up.

Churches have kept their doors open, with clergy of all denominations available to counsel people through this, regardless of their current faith, history, or affiliation.

Events like this remind us there are no guarantees.  And we need to cherish every moment.

Yesterday we put up our Christmas tree.  We let both girls marvel over the lights.  We let Madison hang a few ornaments on the bottom branches.  This was the first year in a while where we didn't hang any "filler" ornaments (the red and silver balls we got from Target a few years ago).  Every single ornament on our tree is meaningful in some way.  Madison is beginning to collect her own, Adam and I have our ornaments from childhood, and the many we've been gifted as adults.  It's not a show tree.  But it's a family tree.  It's our family tree.

Today Madison woke up completely happy.  I worked in the church nursery this morning, so I was getting dressed and getting her clothes ready (on these weeks I usually take Madison and Adam stays home with Reagan to let her nap on schedule) when Adam called for back-up.  Madison was throwing up all over his chair.  Therefore, we quickly got Reagan dressed, Madison cleaned up, and Adam stayed home snuggling with a cuddly toddler while I got some one on one time with Reagan.  Once we got home, I took over the Madison snuggles while Reagan crawled all over Adam.

A quote that's been running through my head is from a book I read years ago, which was made into a movie: Where the Heart Is.  It took me a while yesterday to figure out where I was remembering it from, but I finally did.  I had it a little off in my head, but the point was the same.  The main characters deal with some pretty horrific events and one is struggling with how to make sense of them with her children.

"You tell them that our lives can change with every breath we take... and tell 'em to hold on like hell to what they've got: each other, and a mother who would die for them and almost did... You tell them we've all got meanness in us, but we've got goodness too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. And that's why we've got to make sure we pass it on".

Don't fight evil - hold on to the good.  We have to go back to living our lives...not as if this never happened, because it did.  And way too close to home for me.  But living life, loving, and raising children to be loving, caring, examples of humanity and all the good there IS in the world.  Next week I will probably go back to sharing stories of meltdowns, adorable toddler quotes and daring 9 month old antics.  Because as frivolous as that is, that's what's important. 

There are some writers far more eloquent than I am who have written some beautiful things.  Here are two of my favorites.  If you've come across any that you love feel free to leave links in the comments.

The Underachiever's Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess
You Know it Happens at Your House Too


lorihokie said...

I absolutely love that quote from Where the Heart Is. The first time I heard it I wanted to hold on to it SO badly for any time in the future when I might have kids and have to explain something bad to them. I think it goes so well with this weekend. Thanks for bringing it up again and sharing.

Meredith said...

It popped into my head yesterday when I was thinking of all those tough questions.One to hold onto.

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