I got the news about the terrible massacre in Newtown, CT today while I was at work. As many parents, all I could think about for the rest of the day was getting home to my sweet son, a creative monster of epic proportions that recently announced that he wants to "make movies and be President."
Now, I'm not a clock-watcher. My ADD and OCD would shoot out of control with my announcing over and over what the countdown to day's end is. I am one of those who gets immersed in my work and loses all track of time. I need alarms to remind me to take breaks and when it's time to wrap it up for the day.
Today, however, I think I checked the time every 15 minutes or so, just waiting for the moment I could be on my way home to hug my son. My wonderful, sweet, sensitive, whirligig of activity and unintended destruction. A typical 5 year old, in other words.
This time of year, the last thing you expect is horrible tragedies. First, the mall shooting in Portland, which was horrific enough. And now 20 children dead. Little ones, like my treasured little boy. It boggles the mind.
Just yesterday, I was wrapping up my Christmas shopping, making sure the kids in my family get something fun to top off the practical gifts we always give.
And then you think of other families who may have just last night finished their Christmas (or other winter holiday) shopping or wrapping. Families whose gifts will go unopened as the children who were to receive them are no longer with us.
Imagine how hard that is to comprehend. You take your treasured child to school and they never come home. How can that be? Look at the gifts under the tree. Surely, this can't be right, my baby will be home for Christmas. How long does it take to really sink in? How surreal life must feel right now for those parents who have lost their child!
Now, I have lost friends to senseless acts of violence. I can relate somewhat, but not to the huge hole the loss of a child leaves in a parent. I remember the phone call and the rushing to get the newspaper, because surely, they are wrong, it's all a misunderstanding. They've confused a name, a place, something, anything. And then there it is, in black and white, on the news. But still, how can this be? Is this reality?
Our country is shaken today, sick to our stomachs, pain in our souls. Parent or not, you cannot help but be shaken to the core when something so sickening and incomprehensible happens. To any parent, this is a manifestation of our greatest fears.
I want to extend my heartfelt prayers and good wishes to the people of Newtown, CT. To the parents, friends, family and neighbors of those children so horrifically slain by a nutcase. To any parent who has lost a child. To anyone who has ever loved at all.
And I want to remind everyone: Never leave angry and always tell the people you love how loved and valued they are. I know from experience that sometimes you never have another chance to do so.
As a side note: I never talk about my family here. My writing would likely degenerate into domestic blahs and doldrums if I were to open that door. So out of respect for both readers and relatives, I blog about other subject matter. Thank you so much for reading this on a day that was supposed to be 12 Days of Geek-Christmas. I am going to skip today's entertainment post, but will resume with a double-whammy tomorrow.