There's really nothing else to talk about, but damned if I can impose any order onto my thoughts about the horrifying attack in Connecticut. I'm sickened, saddened, angered...and I'm as far from the tragedy as one can get, and still be on this continent. I can't begin to imagine what the families are going through, and when I think about it for more than a few minutes, I break down. I cried when I heard about Noah Pozner, whose twin sister was in another classroom. What happens to her, I wonder. What will it be like to carry the sadness of her lost twin forever? It's too much for me to carry, and I didn't even know the child Noah existed until a few days ago. What kind of woman might Victoria Soto have grown to be, if she'd had a chance to become a 30 year old, a 40 year old, a wife and mother, if she chose that path? Her courage would have made her formidable, no matter what choices she made in life. How many children would she have touched as a teacher, how many lives could she have changed? In 26 houses there are Christmas trees, with gifts that won't be opened, Menorahs whose lights will be invisible to the broken souls staring through them.
I try very hard not to make this about me in any way, but that's a really difficult thing for a parent to do. My kids are much older than the victims of Sandy Hook, but I can close my eyes and see them as birdlike newborns, as sturdy toddlers with sly, sweet smiles, as kindergartners, scrubbed faces shining as they show off their brand-new backpacks-- "Like the big kids carry!!"-- and gleaming sneakers that will never be this white again. I think about anything happening to them and I can't breathe. My mind keeps getting stuck on little things, like Christmas presents. For the last ten days or so, every day, I come home from work and there are packages. Presents, ordered a few days ago. I keep thinking, there must be Newtown parents who ordered presents last week, and now...jesus, what goes through your mind when you see a package that was ordered for a child who was a lively, raucous kindergartner last week, and now...now.
How on earth do we make anything good come of this? No matter what is changed, no matter what we do now, no matter how we as a society choose to move forward from this, we can't undo it. We can't be sure anything we do will stop this ever happening again. As long as someone out there doesn't care whether they die famous or infamous, as long as someone out there can look at another human being and see only a target for their rage and a ticket to hysterical headlines and their picture splashed over every paper, screen and monitor in the country. As long as there is evil, as long as there is sociopathy, there will be pain, and there will be someone willing to take that pain out on others, including the innocent. Especially the innocent.
My daughter is twelve. My son is seventeen. I can still see them, chubby cheeks and roly-poly thighs and bellies. I can still see them, at every stage of their lives so far. I can't imagine what it would be like to have only a few years to look back on, and to have nothing of theirs to look forward to. I can't imagine what it's like to be the parent of a Newtown victim-and that goes for the adult victims as well, their mothers can still call up their baby pictures in a second. My heart is with all of them tonight, and will be for a long time to come, and I wish, so much, so desperately, that I could do something to make it better. I wish there was something anyone could do.
I am so, so sorry.