I vividly remember the exact feeling I felt when one of my co-workers came to my room last Friday to say that she had just read about the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. It gave me chills and I was speechless. My mind was racing with thoughts of loss, sadness, grief, guilt, protection, blessings and all I could do was sit there stunned with shivers of fear trying to take in this shocking story that seemed so unnatural to have to hear.
My own babies got to my room after school and I looked at them through different eyes that day. Scared, yet thankful eyes. I went home that night and sat watching the news for over an hour crying for these babies, their friends, their families, the teachers and staff and the community whose name I had not known until now. So many questions, so much heartbreak and feelings of absolute helplessness and grief. It felt like their loss was my loss, too.
My mind went through all of the what-if's that you think about when such a tragedy occurs.Why did this happen? How would I have handled it? Can I secure my room fast enough? How strong is our lock? Should the kids all huddle together like we've practiced or should they be spread out around the room so they aren't concentrated in one area? What if someone hears us? What about my own children? Where are they right now? Are they safe? Are they scared? Do they know how much I love them? Are students praying? Can they feel my prayer over them? What are the families thinking? How soon can they get here? How long will it take for someone to respond? How do I keep everyone calm? What did the students see? How are they going to handle what they saw? The questions and scenarios in my head were unbearable and I'm just a bystander miles and miles away.
I cannot begin to fathom the unbearable pain associated with losing a child in such horrific manner. My heart aches for the families of these precious children whose lives were cut way too short. My faith tells me that they are in Heaven and my heart knows this is true. However, the irrational part of me sees only the gut-wrenching part of losing a child and/or having a child that has witnessed such a horrific event at such a young and tender age. How will this school ever regain normalcy and whatever will it look like to them?
Going back to work on Monday seemed wrong. I wasn't ready to leave my own children. I wasn't ready for them to be out of my sight. I was scared that my students would ask questions that I wouldn't be able to answer without crying. The last thing I want to do is frighten my students with my own tears. I was scared they might have seen something on television that might make them apprehensive about coming to school. However, Monday came and went like any other day for my Kindergarten students. They didn't know or weren't talking about anything that had happened. It's now Wednesday and I've only had two students who asked about why teachers were wearing green and white ribbons and they were satisfied that my answer was, "We are wearing them to honor people who have lost their lives." They didn't need me to go on and I still don't think I could have. Tuesday, our teachers, faculty and staff wore green and white, as well as, green and white ribbons to show our support for the Newtown community. One teacher led a prayer group before school and it was such a blessing to hear.
I pray that this will never happen again. Not at your school and not at mine. Although nothing I can do will bring back the 28 lives lost that day or take away the pain of the grieving families and community, I can play a tiny role in helping the teachers, staff and students begin to heal. I was invited by Kristin from Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten to participate in Teachers Supporting Teachers. I will be donating 100% of my TpT sales from today through December 31, 2012 to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Be sure to click the picture at the top of this post to check out the other bloggers and TpT stores that will be participating.