My heart has not yet unclenched. A fog has settled in on Connecticut, and it is thick with sorrow. At grocery stores and while running errands, everyone is quiet, somber. Flags wave at half-staff, strangers wipe tears, and everyone walks a little bit more slowly. My girls are oblivious, and their laughter is loud as they try on sunglasses and tiaras while the cashier and I quietly exchange money and new sweaters. I’ve lit candles on my front porch, and as I look across the road, I see flickering on my neighbors’ porches as well. We are all mourning.
My Facebook news feed tells me that other people have been able to think of other things. I see baked cheesecakes and date nights and martinis at bars and parties. Brands are still emailing me their pre-Christmas discounts. I don’t blame them. I’ve attempted to distract myself with conversations and mindless internet surfing, but my mind is not easily fooled. I haven’t really been able to do anything else. My grieving heart has not let me.
I’ve emailed people I work with and told them that I simply cannot write humorous copy or a lighthearted article or a funny blog post. I cannot.
Instead, I’m doing all of the very typical things that people are scoffing at online. All three girls haven’t been feeling well, so they’re piled on the couch under blankets and favorite bears and dolls, and I’m just staring at them. So grateful that they’re here, so devastated that twenty families a few towns from me have been robbed of these moments, and so scared of the future.
Remmy’s getting over a virus, so I kept her home from preschool on Friday. Had I not, I would have been another parent racing off to school to grab her child and lay two eyes on her and hug her. I never want to send her to school again, as unreasonable as that sounds. Jack and I spent the weekend at home, hiding our tears from our children, unable to do much more than mourn and process. We’ve attempted to distract ourselves with movies or even funny gifs, and the truth is.. we cannot. And I think… maybe we should not.
There is a time to mourn, and this is that time. We’ll weep with those who weep. We’ll wring our hands and pray for the families of the victims, the survivors who witnessed so much evil, the first responders who have gained so much heartache, our nation as people try to figure out what the hell happened and how to prevent it from happening again. (As I’m posting this, I’m reading news that a threat was made against another Connecticut school in Bristol, and the police have made an arrest. Editing to add: All Ridgefield schools are in lockdown.)
In the meantime, as we all sit and wonder when and how and if all of us can heal from this, I’ve tried to compile a list of ways that we can help. They seem wildly inadequate, but maybe through our words and our actions, the people of Newtown can feel a little bit of comfort and a little bit of love from all of us who are sad with them.
How to help:
I can’t imagine being one of these families and worrying about finances – time taken off to grieve, meals, funeral expenses, flying across the country so the deceased can be buried next to great-grandparents. I know some families have funds set up for them to alleviate these expenses.
– Click here for the Emilie Parker Fund.
– Click here for Noah Pozner’s site.
– Click here for the Friends of the Engel family Fund.
– Jack wrote a song available for free download, with instructions on how to directly send a monetary donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
– The Newtown Parent Connection is committing to bring in extra counselors for the community.
– Thanks to Lisa Stephens for the link to the My Sandy Hook Family Fund.
– Click here to donate to the Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut which will will cover college costs for any students who currently attend the elementary school, as well as siblings of those killed in the assault and dependents of teachers and other adults who also lost their lives, who are accepted to attend the University in the future.
Editing to add: Thank you so much for the Amazon.com gift cards I’ve received thus far. I have delivered everything that has been sent to me. I’ll close off the opportunity to give in this manner for now, as more funds have been set up and there is now a variety of ways to help families. I’m just hoping to streamline assistance for the families. I am moved by the generosity of others. Thank you again.
I do not wish to detract from the support of these families. I realize that there’s some good faith involved when donating money via Paypal to a stranger or sending along an e-gift card. If you’re concerned that all of the above is a scam, then please pass just on by.
I understand that many of us aren’t in a position to donate, and that is totally okay. I really believe in my heart that the people that can, will, and that these families will feel the love and support of an entire planet. We can pray for them, spread the word on how to help, and maybe do a good deed and share some love and kindness.