Still Thinking About It

I was reading an article – after having finished grading my papers for the weekend (and still needing to do more work) – about the events that occurred in Connecticut. And I read a quote that I want to address at least a little bit here (and I’m sure I will be exploring throughout the week).

“I don’t know if the rest of the country is struggling to understand it the same way we are here,” she said. “Life goes on, but you’re not the same. Is the rest of the country – are they going about their regular activities? Is it just another news story to them?” The quote from an article on the Huffington Post website can be found here.

In my personal response, yes. I am still struggling. I am still wondering how this could happen and what would cause something like this to happen. And I know that there might not be any “right” answers to this. I also don’t know if it is affecting me more than others because I am a teacher. A teacher that cares deeply about her children. A teacher that cannot imagine this happening (as I’m sure that others cannot).

Am I still going about my regular life? Yes, I am. But I also think that’s what we need to do. But every waking minute that I have free, my thoughts go back to this.

I think about the children (some of the youngest children in the school) and how their lives were cut way too short by an act of violence that seems so senseless right now (and maybe always will).

I think about the children that I have substituted for and that I know that are that age. The kids that I began the school year with two years ago are first graders this year. They were kids that I loved dearly and still smile when I think about them or see them (even if they have long forgotten me since they do not see me regularly and did not have me for an entire year).

I think about the teachers that lost their lives. The heroic actions and difficulty of trying to save the children that they would rather see live than themselves. And when I think about this, I think about the teachers that survived and how hard that must be. Because I cannot imagine it. I have never experienced survivor’s guilt, but I’d have to imagine that this would bring it on full force.

I think of the administrator’s and other staff that were killed. I think of how much they were trying to help and that they couldn’t. Of the woman that called 911 as soon as she could to get the help that was needed. The tales of heroism from the staff of that school are what we should be talking about.

And, oddly, after seeing a picture of the brother of the shooter, I think of him. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for him. Is this something that he could have seen coming? Is it something that makes him angry? Sad? Disgusted?

I think of the mother of the shooter and wonder some of the same things. Did she know that this could happen? Was she aware of how volatile her son was (or seemed to have been)? What was the last thing she heard from him and did she try to talk him out of doing what he was about to do? Did she even know? (Some of these thoughts were prompted by this article.)

And then, I circle back to the students, the school environment and the thought of it happening at a place like the school where I work. And I am back at square one.

Thinking about the tragedy in every waking moment while trying to go on with my life and live as normally as possible. Because I know that it is not going to do anyone good to dwell on just the tragedy. The question that now haunts is: what can I do? How can I help? What needs to be done? How can this be fixed?

I know this is kind of a rambling entry (and ended up being much longer than I had anticipated), but I am still trying to work through my thoughts (and I’m sure that I will be for a long while). But the point is, yes, the country (maybe not the entire country, but large parts of it – at least in my mind) are struggling with this. In different ways, I am sure as we do not have the constant reminders that are in Newtown, CT.

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