We will return to our regularly scheduled autism related topic with the next post… for now though, some more reflection on the Newtown, CT. shooting…
I hadn't been able to put a finger on why this whole school shooting affected me so much. It just seems like so much to digest. The world seems so much uglier. It makes you angry and you can’t help but feel hopeless. Every post that I have read that makes good points about fixing mental healthcare, or finding a way to pass gun control legislation that can help protect people is met with people that don’t want to listen. Our society complains about the way things are, but every suggestion to change the status quo is met with fear of change that borders paranoia.
When it was suggested that the shooter had autism, I sat back and watched. I read statements and watched news segments. I scanned various blog posts and read numerous news articles. I was left numb. First because we still don’t know for sure if the shooter did indeed have autism, but secondly because I just didn't see how it mattered. He didn’t kill somebody because he was autistic. He killed somebody because he was mentally disturbed.
On Friday, as I was glued to CNN the mail came. I was really happy to see that Bianca’s school pictures had come in. I grabbed Bianca and Sofie’s school pictures and took them with me to work so that I could put them on my desk. If I had to be away from them, at least I could stare at their pretty faces with their big smiles.
When I got to work, I placed them side by side in a frame and placed them next to my computer. I couldn't believe how big they looked. Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing Sofie home and Bianca was busy ignoring her.
Those pictures helped me get through the work day.
When I got home, I didn't move Sofie to her bed from our room. I left her there. Luis was asleep in our bed too… I left him there as well. I went in to Bianca’s room and dug her out from the mountain of blankets she sleeps with and gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead. As I headed back to the bedroom and slid into a warm bed full of kid’s arms and legs shooting every which way, I gave pause… I thought about the children that I knew were not going home to be with their families. I thought about the parents who surely were getting no sleep that night except for maybe some nightmare ridden nod offs. Those bodies were still in that school… I shuddered.
It came out on Saturday that the 20 kids that were killed were all aged 6 or 7 years old. As I drove to work, I couldn't stop thinking about that. Then I realized why. I realized why this tragedy had affected me so. Bianca is 7… Sofie is 6. Those kids that were murdered by this sick individual were my daughter’s peers. They were my daughters.
I cannot for the life of me even fathom how I would react. What I would do. How I could move on. I believe that it would kill me just as it killed my children. I have not stopped staring at the picture on my desk… those kids were babies, innocents. Many of the kids that survived are innocent no more.
I could tell you the clichéd reminder to hug your kids and hold them tight. That is great and important and I know I have done my fair share of hugging. But if I were to tell you one thing to reflect upon or one way to honor those that lost their lives in this needless tragedy, I would just ask that you tell your kids daily how much you love them. Tell them how smart they are. Tell them that they are the greatest kid a parent could ask for… and for you men in particular, don’t just do it today. Make it a daily occurrence.
We never know when we could lose a loved one or parish ourselves, so it is important to always express your feelings towards your family and close friends… because you never know when it will be your last opportunity to do so.
|My two princesses... the same age as the kids killed in the Newtown, CT... 7 and 6 years of age.|