Five Years Later

In the days after 9/11, I voraciously consumed the news. I watched bleary-eyed and numb. I read the stories, the names, the histories. I wanted to memorialize what I could, bear witness, honor their sacrifice.

In the days after Newtown, I shut down. I turned it off. I refused to read the stories. I wouldn’t talk about it. The day it happened, I wrote this, and then I wept for the children, the teachers, and their families. When I would start to read a description of the day or of a parent’s heartbreak or see a name – one the same as my youngest son – I would feel physically ill. I stopped.

I couldn’t.

I still haven’t.

Not really.

I feel guilty about this. Selfish even. Who am I that I can protect myself from that pain when those parents, those teachers, that town can not?

A piece of me broke that day. Newtown entered my heart and took up residence in a place that is now hard and scared and whispers how my kids could one day be taken from me Somehow. Someway. I lost a piece of my naiveté that day and I wish I could have it back, but the world is now a place where kids can go to school and not come home.

I can’t shake the images of those kids being led from the school in a line, holding hands, their eyes shut tight. I can’t not feel the burn of anxiety in my stomach for the parents who endured the wait in that fire station for their children who never returned.

Five years and it feels like yesterday. And yet they would be sixth graders today. They would be in middle school, playing sports, going to piano lessons, begging for cell phones for Christmas, and passing notes in class. Except they are not.

I am no closer to an answer or an understanding on this one. I try again to read the stories and see their faces. I am getting better at it. But I still weep for their absence in this world.

I will remember. I will carry these children in my hearts.

We are all Sandy Hook. We are all Newtown.

Close your eyes. Hold hands.

  • Charlotte Bacon
  • Rachel D’Avino
  • Daniel Barde
  • Olive Engel
  • Josephine Gay
  • Ana Marquez-Greene
  • Madeline F. Hsu
  • Dylan Hockley
  • Dawn Hochsprung
  • Catherine V. Hubbard
  • Chase Kowalski
  • Jesse Lewis
  • James Mattioli
  • Grace McDonnel
  • Emilie Parker
  • Anne Marie Murphy
  • Jack Pinto
  • Noah Pozner
  • Caroline Previdi
  • Lauren Rousseau
  • Jessica Rekos
  • Mary Sherlach
  • Avielle Richman
  • Benjamin Wheeler
  • Victoria Soto
  • Allison N. Wyatt