Taken Too Soon
With a plate full of department Christmas party leftovers, I cozied up to my computer over lunch break to draft my feelings on being a “not mom.” Shortly thereafter, I heard about the school shooting in Connecticut, and there is simply no point in publishing that original sentiment today. Instead, I write with a heart aching for all those involved.
Law officials and media outlets are quick to try to associate numbers with tragedies like these; the number of casualties, of wounded, of suspects. These numbers are important for assessing the scope of a situation, but the fact of the matter is that today’s losses simply can not be quantified.
Every life that was taken mattered. Every single one.
From the youngest victims to the oldest, one’s impact on the world can’t be measured. There are parents who have now lost a child, children who have lost a parent. Siblings, friends, coworkers and loved ones now find an empty place in their lives (just eleven days before Christmas).
Without minimizing the importance of the lives lost or people injured, they are not the only victims. Countless surviving students and staff no doubt saw and heard things they can never forget. There are reports that children were told to cover their eyes as they evacuated the building—that innocence can never be replaced.
And no matter how isolated the event might be, tragedies like this impact every one of us. We’re rocked out of the comfortable nest we create for ourselves, the nest we so carefully pad with feelings of security and people/emotions we take for granted. We are instead forced to consider the harsh reality that nothing in life is certain, that fear lurks around every corner.
Even as an adult many states away, it ushers me back to the fear I felt as a sophomore in high school when the Columbine shooting happened (also many states away). It makes me afraid for my mom who works with many troubled students in a public middle school. It confounds me to think one person can harbor such a blatant disregard for the sanctity of life that s/he is willing to forever disrupt it for others.
It also strengthens my resolve to re-pad my nest without taking anyone for granted.