I couldn't decide whether to put this down for the record. I've been on and off, and on the fence again as I hemmed and haughed over what to say.
Because there is so very much I want to say - and yet it's all too horrible for words.
So for the record, I didn't find out until about halfway through the day. My 8th graders were testing, which meant that I didn't have access to my e-mail until about 12:30. When I opened it, the school had sent out an e-mail which contained the two words that can send me plummeting: School Shooting.
I typically have to leave it alone. I just can't go there; it's simply too painful.
But this time, I read the words "Elementary school" and I was caught. Sickened. So I clicked the link, and completely broke down sobbing as the truth that was too awful hit me again and again.
Babies. Precious. Tiny. Innocent. Just a few years older than my own tiny ones.
It touches places in me that I can't even begin to describe: my own horror about what the inside of that classroom looked and sounded like. The heroism that was the staff, using the only weapons available to them to shield those sweet babies, even when it cost them their very lives. The parents, whose lives are absolutely, fundamentally changed in ways they can't even begin to process yet. The awful weeks and months that are ahead of them, full of news coverage and memorials and funerals.
And then the deafening silence that follows, in which they have to begin to piece together what is left of their world. To define what normal looks like when your everything is torn apart.
It's too horrible for words.
And I am again struck by what a scary world we live in. How terrifying it is to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body. So vulnerable and treasured. How many times over I would take my experience if it means my precious babies don't have to go through something like that. How powerless I am to prevent it.
Aim the guns at me. Hurt me. Shoot me. Kill me.
I remember waking up that first morning - April 21st. I remember vividly the way it felt to open my eyes. For a single, blissful moment I was unaware of what had happened. And then it all came rushing back and I wanted more than anything to just go back to sleep, to be burried in the oblivion and not acknowledge any of it. I remember how it overwhelmed me.
I remember forcing myself to fake it those first few days. To go through the motions when all I wanted to do was stay in bed. To chew and swallow. To get dressed and put on makeup. To move.
I remember that people used to remark at how strong we all were for getting up and going on. And I remember thinking, "well, what else is there?"
As a parent, I pray I never have to confront such loss. Because I'm fairly certain that I would find out the answer, that I would flirt with and probably discover exactly what else there is. I don't know how you face it. Particularly when it is such a senseless and disgusting act of violence.
And now I have to stop. It's just too horrible for words.