I went back and forth in my mind today about whether to write tonight about what's happened today, but I feel I must get this out just for my own sake. As my own child sleeps upstairs and I sit in front of my beautiful tree in the safety of my home, I simply can't fathom what the families of those lost children and other adults must be experiencing. When you send your child off to school in the morning you always expect that you'll be able to see them again at the end of the day and no one can prepare for when that doesn't happen. I have cried today and tear up even as I write this. I can't remember the last time I felt so sad. I wanted desperately to talk to someone on my way home, but knew there was no way I could keep my composure if I did. I wanted to call my mom and to tell her I loved her because I knew I couldn't say it to my own daughter at that moment, but of almost anyone, I knew for sure I wouldn't be able to physically speak when she answered the phone. I picked Tera up from daycare and didn't want to let her go.
I feel so lost as to how to express how I feel because no one can explain this. I've tried comparing this to other tragedies, but somehow this is different. As an educator who started my career after Columbine and in the midst of so many other similar tragedies, I always think about how I would handle something like this and wonder how we are lucky enough to have escaped it when others haven't.
I wasn't a huge fan of people telling me that everything happens for a reason after Tera was born and diagnosed, but I really don't think I can handle anybody saying that about today. This didn't happen for any reason other than one of the sickest people to walk this earth made it happen. I won't hypothesize on his motive or stand on a soap box and try to explain why this might have happened. I have my opinions, but what I think doesn't matter. What matters is that this country comes together as it has so many times before to support and grieve with those families who lost a loved one today.
In the hours following the news of the shooting I was checking Facebook to see what was being posted and was already disgusted by the fact that friends' innocent comments about sending love and prayers were being hijacked by people getting into arguments about gun control and the state of society. There is a time and place for things and today is definitely not it. On the flip side of things, I also felt a sense of unity with all the people sharing their condolences for the families of the victims. Websites, bands, and companies all stopped the now seemingly less important posts that usually go up on Facebook and instead devoted that time and space to showing their support for the community affected by this tragedy.
In the wake of such things happening I think everyone reevaluates what they should do differently to ensure similar things don't happen to them. I do the same thing, but I also usually come to the conclusion that one can only do so much without giving up your life and freedom completely. The hard part to justify is that this isn't something that had to happen. Natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods are things no one has control over. They're going to happen and no one can stop them. But this didn't have to happen. Someone made a choice and now people, our country, our society, but most importantly those families and that community will have to forever live with the consequences of that choice and somehow try and pick up the pieces. I'm sorry that I just can't end this on a positive note tonight. As so many people have already said, hug your kids, your family, your friends and tell them you love them. It will never be a wasted moment.