Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A tragedy we should never forget

Every year for the past four years on Dec. 14, I have said a prayer for the parents of 20 children I don't know and have never met. I vowed for the rest of my life on Dec. 14, that I will always pray for them on that day.

Four years ago today mothers just like me - fathers just like my husband - sent their kids off to school without a second thought, maybe even without a kiss or a hug. Those parents never realized what terror awaited them that day and how their children would be taken from them in such a monstrous, horrific way. The parents of children shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary never saw it coming.

Sandy Hook victim, via People Magazine
Four years ago my oldest son was the same age as the children they lost that day. My twins are 6 now, the same age as those children lost that day. My husband and I sent our son off to kindergarten that day and went Christmas shopping for our kids. We had their little homemade Christmas wishlists to Santa in hand, imagining the happiness on their faces come Christmas morning, when they unwrapped new bikes, dolls and Spiderman toys. Those parents had that happiness ripped out from under them and their Christmas memories would forever be nightmares of this tragedy instead.

Seeing the news of that day and what evil existed in the world to enable a massacre of 20 innocent children and several teachers made me so sick to my stomach and caused a pain in my heart that was indescribable. The scary part was the realization that if it could happen at all, it could have happened here, to my children, in my corner of the world. I kept thinking how they had to explain, probably to other children or siblings, about what happened. I couldn't imagine the gut wrenching task of telling my children about the horrors that took place inside that school. I couldn't wrap my head around the pain of losing a child that young, and actually having to live with that pain every day after. Every year I wonder how they can carry on and get through another Dec. 14.

Tragedies come and go. Life goes on and people tend to forget. We sometimes forget about horrific events we read about in the paper or online. We live with our blinders on. We do the stuff that gets us through another day. Sometimes I forget or am too hurried to give my children hugs and kisses in the shuffle and chaos of our morning routine. I don't laugh when they laugh, because I'm too "busy" folding laundry. I don't giggle when they put bubbles on their face in the bathtub because I'm preoccupied with wiping bathwater from the floor. I get aggravated and annoyed at some of the things my kids do. I spank and yell at them too much.

But every Dec. 14, I think of those parents whose children aren't there for them to kiss and hug, to laugh with, and even to aggravate or annoy them. Every Dec. 14 I look at my son and realize those parents never got to see their child at this age. I feel so much sadness in that thought. I pray not just for peace and comfort for them and their families, but for all parents, that we don't lose sight of our own miracles - the simple gift of being able to have, to see, to hug and love our children every day.


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