I am having such a hard time as I know most of us are, with trying to come to terms with this loss and horror in Newtown, CT. This month is so difficult for me, as many people know I lost my daughter two days after Christmas in 2010. Last year, I escaped, and essentially ran away from dealing with the Christmas season. My husband and I took our two remaining children out of town for Christmas because I did not want to have to face the reality of digging through 19 years of memories of Christmas with my Alicia. This is something I can assure you will go through the minds of the families who have suffered this loss. How do you put off dealing with this terrible incident during the holidays?
There are no words of wisdom I can give to the parents of those who have lost their children in Newtown. But there is a sad camaraderie that I share in having lost a child. Sadly, that camaraderie extends to having lost a child at Christmas time. While no one thinks it will happen to them, there are way too many of us that have lost our beloved children, way before their time. There is no easy answer, and I have written about this before, each person needs to deal with loss in thier own way. Do not let anyone rush you. Do not let anyone set deadlines for your feelings of loss. Do not be surprised that the smallest things can set you into the deepest funk. It could be a song, a scent, or a situation. It will always be a shock when you get hit by the love you are missing.
I am in awe of the teachers and school staff that have truly given the ultimate sacrifice to protect the children in their charge. I believe we are lucky enough to have people like that at Hugh Cole. And I thank God, that everyday, I feel safe enough to put my children in their care. I also am grateful for the relationship the police and fire have with our school officials. I do not mean that other schools in our district don’t have this going on, but I am only familiar with Hugh Cole as that is where my children go to school, and quite frankly, the tragedy this time was based in an elementary school.
While the situations are different, watching the news, reminds me of those whom I consider heroes in fighting for my daughter's life. There were many doctors and nurses, especially her school nurses who followed her daily, the Warren Fire Department, and Chief Galinelli, but especially the Rescue Squad, to which I was a member, that did, not just fundraisers for us, but transported Alicia so often, there is not enough love to share. Many of the fire companies raised money that paid for her physical therapy when her insurance would not, especially Engine 3. I think I can aptly say, that there are many parents in Newtown that know they have their heroes in the school personnel and all the first responders, just like I feel indebted to our community.
These parents have lost their beautiful children to such a sad and hurtful tragedy, it hurts the entire world and moves them to react and express their love to these families. My baby was 21 months old when she was basically handed her death sentence. I was lucky that we were able to fight that sentence for years. But these parents kissed their child for the last time, just like me, not knowing it would be the last time. So I know that pain.
It may sound strange, but I was so grateful to our police department when I saw this news. The Warren Police Department has held a lock down drill at our Hugh Cole School. There were parents who were upset as they thought that this scared our children. They may have been right. But is that so bad? I like preparedness. There is nothing that prepares you for terminal illness. We can at least be as prepared as possible for bad people if they show up in our childrens' schools.
In the next few weeks, I know that our police department, fire department, school and town officials will be looking at how to prevent such a tragedy in our towns. Please be patient with us, and support us, and hug your kids constantly while we work through this horrific event. Please keep all the victims and their families in your prayers. Remember to show your children the love they have and keep in mind the confusion they may be feeling at our inability to explain what has happened. Our children deserve to know we will do everything we can to protect them and keep this from happening here, just like they did in Newtown, before it was even a true possibility in our minds.