I know this post is not about DIY, decorating or upcycling, but since the Sandy Hook tragedy, I’ve not felt much like writing. This is simply my account of that day, and what I’ve learned from it. Thank you for allowing me to share my feelings – it helps me to move forward, and hopefully I can inspire kindness in others.
I moved to Sandy Hook, Connecticut just over three months ago. Sandy Hook is a sleepy little corner of Newtown. Because few outside Newtown had heard of Sandy Hook, we’d just say we live in Newtown.
It’s not that way anymore. Not since 12.14.12.
We got the reverse 911 call that there was a shooter in one of the schools, quickly followed up with an email saying it was at Sandy Hook and that all kids were on lockdown. I am fortunate that my youngest daughter went to a different elementary school, even though we live closer to the Sandy Hook school.
What runs through your mind at a time like that? Well, for me, I tried to tell myself that it must be a misunderstanding, or maybe it was an issue between two adults. Maybe the school is just being extra cautious.
Maybe. But no.
Information started coming out, through the news and social media. I set up my family room as an information hub – TV on, switching between channels, checking websites, on the phone, following Twitter accounts that were on the scene. Hoping. Praying.
Sirens blared. Helicopters hovered. Rumors terrified. Hearts broke.
My kids were still in lockdown – one at Middle Gate, the other at Reed Intermediate. How much did they know? Were they scared? I was.
I got my kids, and gave them big hugs. It was difficult to explain to them what evil was. It pains me for them to know this kind of evil at such innocent ages. I cherish the photo of my second grader that I took just one hour before tragedy struck.
Makeshift memorials and hand written signs began to appear along roads and at gathering places. People from all over were coming to Newtown to pay their respects. The collection of tributes became places of healing and connecting with others.
At Edmond Town Hall:
At Sugar and Main Streets by Ram Pasture:
At the other schools (this one at Reed Intermediate):
And in the sleepy center of Sandy Hook:
Driving through town was difficult. Between the media, funeral processions and visiting well-wishers, I tried to stay home as much as possible.
The famous Newtown Flagpole seemed to sigh at half staff.
After Christmas Eve service, we visited the memorial down the street from our church, and prayed for the fallen and their families.
A white piano played beautiful Christmas songs, even though it was very cold that night. Silent Night.
My heart breaks for the innocent angels and heroes we lost that day. Our town will never be the same, but rather will evolve to a different kind of normal at some point.
While I still jump at the sound of a siren or a helicopter overhead, routines are slowly being reestablished. Kids are back at school. The makeshift memorials have been removed to become part of a permanent memorial, the media has gone home, and the roads are open again.
There is much healing to be done, and we are looking forward towards make our world a better place in any way we can. We have been shown so much kindness over the past few weeks, and it is inspiring.
Which is why I’m writing this. Not only have I witnessed wonderful acts of kindness here in Newtown, I’m touched by how random acts of kindness in the name of the children and educators are happening all over the country.
Which brings me to Ben. He is a little boy from Tucson, AZ who died unexpectedly at age 3.
Through his parent’s grief, they began making clay ornaments with bells on them, and called them “Ben’s Bells.” They made so many, they hung them around town, inspiring others to connect in their community with kindness.
I’m so thankful that Ben’s Bells have found their way to Newtown. While walking my dog at Fairfield Hills this morning, I found one!
It was a blessing to find, and will be an even bigger blessing to answer the call of kindness. I’m headed into New York City tomorrow to meet with some of my HomeGoods blogging friends. I plan to show random kindness in the Big Apple, and leave the bell there for someone else to find.
Thank you for taking the time to read what I have written. If you feel inspired, please do a random act of kindness toward another.
“Remember, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” ~Scott Adams
Wonderful blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feedback from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!
Robyn A. says
So nice to meet you in NYC this week Susan. This was a beautiful post. I hope you and your family continue to see the positive in life and continue to heal.
Kerry Anne says
Beautifully written Susan. May many acts of kindness stem from this inspiring post. Happy a bell will bless the city tomorrow.
Nicely done. Have a wonderful time in NYC.