Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two Years Ago: Innocence Lost

Two years ago today the three of us (plus Carter in utero) were on our way to Montreal for the Knighthawks' pre-season game.  On our way there, we stopped for lunch at Cici's Pizza in Watertown.  We noticed something on TV and then started checking things on our respective devices, only to find out about the Sandy Hook shooting.  It was horrifying, to say the least.  While I tried not to let it ruin our weekend, it definitely put a damper on things.  I couldn't even fathom it.

I only mentioned it briefly on this blog, months later, but at the time I had a hard time processing it all.  I wanted to blog about it, but it was just too painful.  I honestly couldn't even let my mind go there.  What happened there was every parent's worst fear.  To think about it too much was too hard, too gut-wrenching.

Two years later, Craig is in Montreal again this weekend.  We're not there with him, but the coincidence is interesting.  This year's anniversary has even more significance because this year Jacob is in first grade, the same grade that lost so many children that day.  I won't lie--the couple times that I've been in his classroom, my mind briefly went to that place, wondering if the Sandy Hook first grade classroom was anything like Jacob's.  I thought about the kids in his class, how they couldn't have been too different from the kids that lost their lives that day.  Sweet, innocent kids that loved the same sorts of things Jacob and his friends do now (minus Frozen, I suppose!).  The thought of most of those kids getting shot up by some psycho was unfathomable as I looked at them.  And while the odds of something like that ever happening again are slim, sometimes I can't help but wonder, "Why couldn't it happen here?  No one there ever thought it could happen there, so why should here be any different?  What's stopping someone from doing the same sort of thing here?" 

I know that's a terrible, dark thought.  I don't let thinking like that permeate my daily life, by any means, but once in a while I do wonder why those kids had to die when so many others live normal, carefree lives.  I can't imagine losing Jacob, let alone in such a tragic, violent, sudden manner.  I don't know how those parents have moved on, and I'm sure many truly haven't, but it's a good reminder to thank God for every moment we have with our kids. 

I don't know if I had a real point for this post, though I did feel it was important to address the anniversary given Jacob's age and that it has been on my mind lately.  Like I said, as a parent it's almost impossible to fathom and even now I can't really let my brain go there because it's just too horrible.  Those six year olds were just doing what they were supposed to do--go to school--and the teachers and other employees in the building that day were doing their life's work--caring for the kids--and the unimaginable happened.  Those kids would be in third grade now, and their lives were snuffed out far too early.  I don't understand it, not even within the context of God's plan.  It seems like no good could come of it, but maybe other lives will be saved down the line from legislation or security improvements, or mental health will get greater attention.  Anything to not make their deaths in vain.

It doesn't stem the sadness, horror, or tiny bit of fear as I think of Jacob's class (or even Carter's).  But two years later I just wanted to mention that my heart still breaks for those families and the terrible reality they still live with every day.   Their strength (little though it may seem to them some days) is astounding.  The energy they've put into making the world a better place in the aftermath is admirable.  Nothing will ever bring their kids back, but I pray that in their honor, society ensures that no one else ever has to deal with a loss like that again.

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