Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook

On September 11, 2001 Grace was just three two days shy of her first birthday as she and I played in our family room and the phone rang.  It was my Mother, who was working on the West Side of Manhattan listening to reports that something was happening, while watching smoke rise above the skyline from the south facing windows of her building.  At that very moment I wanted to gather my loved ones close.  I waited hours and hours, pacing until I knew that she and my brother were out of harm's way.  I could not understand why Greg’s boss would not close the doors and tell the staff to go home and be with the ones they loved.  How could someone work as our world was seemingly falling apart? As long as I had them an arm’s length away, I could let out the sigh of relief knowing that they were safe, alive, and able to come home to my waiting embrace. 

Friday I had that same feeling, the same need to gather and protect.  My girls were with me, shielded from the events that were transpiring 20 miles away, in an elementary school, in a sleepy Connecticut town.  When it was time to tell them, we gathered together in the living room, and together we prayed the Hail Mary aloud.  This is my go-to prayer, the one I need to get me through the trials and tribulations of my life.  It brings me comfort every time.  The families in Newtown needed comfort.  I needed comfort.  Our county, state and nation needed comfort.
Once again I felt that need to gather ‘round.  To pull together. To have my loved ones be literally an arm's length away. I needed to be with my family and block out the pain that my community is feeling right now.  My brother came up from New York with his family. 

My sister came with hers.  

We met at my parent's house and we watched our children play.  The littlest is too young to understand any of this, and the oldest is almost too old to let himself be hugged.  Yet the feeling was palpable, at any moment we could look at our children and be reminded that far too many families are grieving during this Christmas season.  Then the tears flow, and the heart aches, and we seek comfort in community, in family, and in faith.
In faith I find my peace.  In God’s house I find comfort.  In the words of our Priest, I find solace.  I know that there is darkness is this world.  I also know that there is light.  This weekend brought me light.  There was light in the shining faces of the children who performed the annual Christmas Pageant and dedicated it to Sandy Hook.  

There is light in sharing your talents to bring others joy.  

There is light when people gather in a church at a special Mass to commemorate the souls of 26 people who no longer walk upon this earth but now reside in the afterlife, a place I call heaven, where there is no pain, and there is the promise of a joyful reunification when the time is right.  


Shel said...


Anonymous said...

Jason's boss wouldn't let them leave on 9/11 either and I was so upset by that as well. I was really comforted on Friday to have my family gathered together. I say the "Hail Mary" as well and pray that Mary, a mother who lost so much, can bring these families into her loving embrace.

Jessica said...

(((hugs))) I think all parents need an extra one right now!

Jessica said...

The 27 year old teacher who hid her children in the closets is from our town. Her wake was tonight walking distance from my home. The line was out the door and around the entire block. Traffic was rerouted and State Troopers directed traffic. Tears once again flowed from my eyes. Something needs to bring peace and I hope that others can find it in the same place we do.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, Jessica. I live fairly close to Blacksburg, VA, where the VA Tech shootings happened. I remember how that felt, having such a horrible, senseless tragedy occur so close to home. I can only imagine what this experience be like for you. I am glad you're finding comfort through family, faith, and friends.

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