I was a senior in high school in 1999 when the Columbine shooting happened. Shortly after there were threats at our high school and even though I was a carefree “it won’t happen to me” mentality teenager it was still scary. Fast forward to December 14, 2012. I was a mother of an 11 month old, getting ready for his first Christmas and his first Birthday. I saw on Facebook about a shooting at a school in Newtown. Sent it on to my friend who sits in front of me at work. Newtown is not too far from us. As the details rolled in I felt sicker, and sicker, and sicker. An elementary school, first graders, innocent victims. I was brought back to being a first grader and couldn’t even imagine the fear those children and teachers faced. I remember listening to the radio on my way to pick up my son and just crying, not being able to wrap my head around what had happened. Days after it was hard to watch the news because hearing the stories about the heroic teachers and seeing the faces of those innocent babies was too hard for me. I just can’t imagine how toes parents and families felt. I didn’t even want to try to imagine. It was too hard.
1 year later and it’s equally difficult to understand why someone would want to hurt them. Schools now practice drills in case something like this happens again. Things have changed so much in one year. I still have not driven by the school. I never felt I could be strong enough to do it. All I can do is help their memories alive by random acts of kindness. Next time you’re getting a cup of coffee pay for the person behind you in memory of those 26 angels.