Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve spent all day wrestling with how to process the massacre in Connecticut. I teared up when I heard a little boy describing the rampage on the radio. When President Obama nearly wept when making his statement about the shooting, I hid behind my monitor and wiped my eyes. I managed to keep it together until everyone else had left the office. Then I just sobbed in the bathroom before heading out for a much-needed beer.
My father died when I was five years old. It’s something that a child should not have to endure. It’s nothing that a wife should have to endure. Or a mother. Or a father. Yet everyone who cared about my dad felt that loss. It’s the same for those in Connecticut and beyond. The slain children and adults’ mothers and fathers will have to suffer through an unfathomable loss, as all losses are. As will the grandparents and the teachers and those whose lives intersected with those died.
Everyone is concerned about the kids who survived this morning’s shooting. We all know the kids won’t be the same person they were when they got on the school bus on Friday morning. No kidding. None of us are the same people we were before Columbine, 9/11, or the loss of our parents, or whatever life-shattering catastrophes strike on the most banal of days. We’re given the life we have, and we have to embrace every moment of it.
I hope I don’t sound callous. These are very open wounds. In the upcoming weeks we’ll hear the bickering about gun control, mental health services, school security, and the myriad of other ways people think we could have potentially saved lives today. Those will all be important debates. I just hope the kids and adults who were hurt–psychologically and physically–by today’s rampage get the help they need to process all the ugly, scary feelings that will come and see that open wound become a scar over time. And in the years to follow can point it out and say, yes, this is a part of me. It made an irreparable change to me. But I’m still here.