Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy called for residents of his state to observe a moment of silence and ringing of bells at 9:30 a.m. today to mark a week since a 20-year-old gunman killed his mother and then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where he shot to death 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Here is my poem to honor those lost….
They come around the corner of my day.
And there you are.
Miles of memories, placed end to end
that stretch across the landscape of my years.
Good times merge with sad
and both survive.
Yesterday is now
never dying only changing form.
Memories of moments and memories full-length,
the sound of your voice, the rich laughter,
the smile, the way you say my name.
The stories, the holidays, the wisdom, the fun.
Now, what is, isn’t
But what was, will always be.
And there you are.
And every time you greet me with love.
— by Jama Kehoe Bigger
I had planned a different post for this weekend, but after yesterday’s horrific news of 27 dead – 20 of them children – at Newton, Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School, I knew I had to write something else.
I’m a mother. I’m a grandmother. My oldest grandchild is 5-year old Dawson. Kindergarten age. Like so many murdered in their school classroom. The news crushed my heart. I sat in my living room weeping. I couldn’t catch my breath.
“Dear Jesus,” I repeated. And could find no more words.
Now is the time for prayer. We need to put aside – for a while, maybe for long moments – all the chatter and debate and politics about gun control and legislation and mental health. For now, we need to bow our heads and wrap that community – those moms and dads, those brothers and sisters, those grandmas and grandpas, all those families – with a protective cloak of love and comfort. We are all heartbroken.
And we are angry and confused and fearful. There will be time later for discussions. But we may never know the why of this tragedy, just as so many before.
Let’s think of those children for now. Those small ones. Boys and girls just learning to read, anticipating the joy of Christmas, filled with laughter and energy and hope. Let’s think of the parents. Whose lives will never be the same, who will soon be picking out coffins and not stocking stuffers. Who will endure a season of unwrapped gifts and a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams.
For now, let us hold a shield against the memory of that violence; let us hold up the beauty that was in these small lives. Let us remember the dedication and enthusiasm of those teachers and educators.
We need to pray. For the hearts that were lost. For a sacred moment.