Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Long Path Beyond Our Grief

File:Broken Heart symbol.svgI wasn't expecting to be this affected.  I've heard of multiple shooting tragedies in the past but none has moved me the way this Connecticut school shooting has. Like most parents, I wasn't simply moved.  I was shaken and am broken by it. I still tear up every time I read about it and imagine the trauma and ordeal the teachers and children had to endure.  Admittedly my reaction was compounded by the fact that my son is a kindergartener himself, the same age as most of those who died. Like some of you, I also thought to myself, 'It could've been his school, his classroom.'  Like most of you, I'm asking, 'How safe is my child's school?'  We live in a quiet, suburban community, with a stellar school district.  But Sandy Hook is in a similar community and so the unpredictability factor is further heightened.  

Again, all it took was one disturbed individual, at least one gun (I read he had three of his mother's guns) and the firm determination to harm innocents.  I cannot imagine the sorrow of those parents who lost their precious angels.  The questions they may be asking, all the what ifs, all the questions that will be left unanswered.  And most of all, I cannot imagine the abyss they will find themselves in, as they wish for moments that will never be.  As Pres. Obama pointed out, the birthdays, graduations, weddings and if I may add, the Christmases and all the magical moments and milestones those little children and their families had been robbed of.

The process of grief need not be rushed, but eventually, we all need to move on. Normally, moving on is made a little easier when one is able to make sense of things.  But how do you make sense of a senseless killing spree?  The only path right now that I see is to ask ourselves the question of what this tragedy is teaching us.  How can we make the victims' deaths count for something as a nation, as a society?

Is it highlighting security lapses in our schools?

Is it a reminder to always stay in the present and love our loved ones to the fullest while we can?

Is it a call for more serious dialogues for stricter gun control policies?  (And please don't even think of uttering to me the words "It's people who kill, not guns".  You know that's a crappy excuse.)

Is it a call for a shift from a highly individualistic and alienated way of life, to a more involved, genuinely caring community life? where people truly see each other, extend help when needed, offer support to people who are struggling and quietly crying for help; one where civil propriety is not the standard and deemed good enough, but instead, genuine human concern and the awareness that we are all connected?

Adam Lanza, the shooter, is a product of this world, this society.  Let's face it.  WE are all connected to him.  All of us, in some way, contributed to how he became, how he felt, what he thought, whether it was his pain, his sense of alienation, his false beliefs, lack of values, etc.  I don't wish to add to the pain we are all feeling right now, but I do wish to add to the many voices right now calling for everyone to be awakened.

We belong to this society.  We make it.  We create it and have the ability to constantly re-create it.  I choose hope. Let's be clear about our intentions and let those good intentions guide our actions and future decisions.  Don't let the children's deaths go to waste.  Look inside, look around.  See the connections and open your souls to the ripple effects that surround us.  Self and Society, Individual and the World.  We are all part of each other.  Never forget that.