It’s been three years since the Newtown tragedy and I still think about it every December. It feels like something from a movie, like something that would never happen in real life. But it did happen. And it’s still happening.
When my husband told me about the horrifying events unfolding in California last week, that there was another mass shooting, ANOTHER mass shooting, I said nothing. I felt nothing. For a moment, I felt nothing.
It took me about an hour to walk to my computer and finally see all of my social media feeds talking about San Bernardino. There were people killed. People who woke up that morning and were just going to work. They were going to their office just like they did the day before. But now they were gone.
I’m numb to it, really. After Newtown. After the Washington Navy Yard, where my brother-in-law works. After the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. After Umpqua Community College in Oregon. After Charleston, the city where I was married. And after Alison and Adam were gunned down during a live broadcast in Virginia. After San Bernardino.
I get scared. My husband works in the media. I’m typing this while my children are in school where I pray they are safe. It’s too much to process and worry about and the fear can sometimes paralyze me.
And then there’s the constant talk about blame. Who, or what, do we blame for the US being the leading country in mass shootings? Do we blame the President? The guns? The NRA? The liberals? The conservatives? The media? Our mental health system? Isis?
I want the killings to stop. Enough is enough. But I feel like we go around in circles on blame and nothing changes. Then I wonder: what can I do? How can I help when I always feel helpless?
Then I remembered this picture of my child from church last week. He brought up the gifts during school mass. I was so happy and content. I was at church. I was with God. I was with my children. I was with amazing teachers and friends. And that’s the answer.
Over ten years ago I was watching Oprah interview one of the widows from 9/11. I was crying while she talked in detail about her husband’s final moments but then she said something I’ll never forget. She said that she was happy because they lived a great life with no regrets. She said they went on every trip and every adventure. They traveled and did everything they wanted to do. They never took one day for granted. They lived life to the fullest and that brought her enormous peace.
My two kids will read this blog one day and here’s what I want them to learn from all of this. This is what I know for sure:
People are good. Life is good. God is good. We can’t live in fear of what will happen. We have to focus on the every day amazing moments and the small miracles of life. So we go on that last minute trip to Disney World. We take a plane to see Taylor in concert and our family every Easter. We buy gifts for the families on the Angel Tree. We start a charity and get fueled by all the children who are brave and inspiring. We get the expensive hot stone pedicure. We play football in the living room. We dance in the kitchen. We stay up past bedtime to watch the end of the movie. We tip more than 20%. We hug friends goodbye. We say thank you to every person in uniform. We get the 350 calorie Starbucks peppermint mocha with extra whip. We live each day with gratitude and kindness and more gratitude. We go to church every week and we pray.
And we love each other with all our hearts. Because love always wins. Love always wins. <3