I Know. . .

I’ve been wrestling with whether or not I should write a post in response to the tragedy that occurred yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I haven’t posted anything in a long while and I fear that if I wrote a post it would come across as self indulgent or self serving.  While I do not know what it feels like to have my child murdered I do know what it feels like to have my child die.  I fear that people may feel I am making this unthinkable tragedy about me.  Please know that I am not trying to do that in the least bit.

I think about the parents who went to that fire station desperately seeking to hold their children that instead walked away with their arms empty and souls obliterated.  I think about the suffocating feeling of helplessness knowing their beautiful babies are only a couple hundred yards away lying dead in their classrooms.  I know all they want to do is go get their babies and hold them but they can’t.  (Try to imagine knowing that you’re holding your child- even though they’re already dead – for the last time in your life.  We couldn’t let go of Charlie at the hospital.  I remember getting home late the night Charlie died and watching Vanessa have a break down in her friend’s, Alissa, arms while she continuously muttered, “I just want to hold him.  Can’t I just hold him one more time?”)  I know that knowing the fact that their children’s last few minutes of life were filled with absolute terror is something that none of them will “get over” or learn to live with over time.  It wasn’t a peaceful death for these children.  It was horrific and extremely frightening.  I know that the shock they’re feeling right now will wear off within a year or so and then they will be carrying anger, resentment, anxiety, hopelessness and depression long after people think they’re “better” or “over it”.  I know that every single one of them would change places with their dead child right now.  I know that they will forever physically feel the absence of their children in everything they do for the rest of their lives.  I know that this indescribable pain is forever and it’s why I’ve been a complete wreck since the news of the first fatality was brought to my attention.  I can’t handle seeing other people in so much pain.

The innocent children that perished in this heinous display of humanity will hopefully be remembered for the immaculate souls that they are and beautiful people that they were.  I hope they don’t become a lesson to people to love their kids more or hug them a little tighter.  I fear that they already have, however, by countless media reporters, the President, and even fame-whoring parents of surviving children from Sandy Hook.  One woman in particular infuriated me with her smug smile and aura of elitism as her sweet, red headed and toothless daughter regurgitated scripted answers to questions.  She said she was doing the interview to support the families that had lost children.  No, she was not.  If she was concerned about them, she would’ve been with those families and not shamelessly grabbing her 15 seconds of fame.  As a bereaved parent, I can speak for the parents of the 20 kids that died yesterday and tell this lady that nothing she said in that interview came close to making anyone feel better about their deaths except herself.

As Vanessa and I were watching coverage last night I remember seeing a man in a red jacket stumbling away from the fire station.  I knew immediately that one of the victims was his child.  Even though I don’t “officially” know, I know in the way only another bereaved parent could know.  I could see it in his eyes.  I know that look.  I know that feeling.  The feeling of the universe crushing his soul as everything he’s ever known and believed about life has been shattered.  I know that he faced his now incomplete family for first time yesterday.  I know that he walked into his child’s empty bedroom for the first time yesterday.  I know that he fell asleep for the first time last night.  I know that he woke up this morning for the first time.  I know that he did all of these things and will do more for the first time. . . after his child died.  Like me, his life will be remembered in two halves.  Before his child died and after.  Everything is different for that man and the rest of the parents who lost their child yesterday.  They are not the same people they were before yesterday and they never will be again.  The pain they are experiencing will forever be with them.  I wish there was something I could do to ease their pain but I, unfortunately, know there is nothing I can do that would ease it even a little.

My heart breaks for the surviving children that witnessed their friends get killed and have had their innocence hijacked from them.  My heart breaks for the parents of all of the victims as I know their pain all too well.  Most of all, my heart breaks for the children that died yesterday at Sandy Hook.  I’ve broken down numerous times imagining the chaos and fear those children experienced in their last minutes of life.  These sweet and innocent children never harmed anyone and they were mercilessly gunned down in cold blood before their lives even started.  I hope they are remembered for more than just being victims of a most horrific tragedy and not be used as a lesson to people whom still have their children to love them more.  They deserve much more than that.

May they rest in peace and God bless their souls.

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7 thoughts on “I Know. . .

  1. The 20 families that went home empty handed to a house where their children were so alive only a few hours before…they had to come home to their children’s belongings laying out. They had to come home to the Christmas presents that they were anxiously waiting to give next week…And most of all, I hate knowing that you and Vanessa know this feeling.

  2. Brian, My child was not a 5 year old at that school, but the loss is forever real. Your loss will be forever real, to have this kind of empathy is the very saddest thing of all. To lose your child, no matter what the circumstances are unthinkable. They were born to us to protect and love and to keep safe from harm. Sometimes, I guess, that is not in our control. I for one understand this post is not about you, but what you are feeling in your heart for these parents. I feel it too. I hate feeling it, I wish I was not in this club. It truly was not a club any of us ever would have joined. I think of your family so often even though we have never connected in person. I wish you peace and love, Gayle Brus

  3. Watching the coverage has made me so angry! The horror of those children’s last moments….it’s stunning. The horror the parents feel knowing that those were their children’s last moments. There can be nothing worse. I, too, know what’s coming for these parents and it is the longest, loneliest road. We’ve been just miserable over here thinking about any part of any of it. And, you know I agree with you on these kids not becoming a lesson. I can’t believe how many time I heard “hugs our kids a little tighter” – why oh why does ANYONE think this is a compassionate thing to say? It is SO self indulgent. Nobody’s child’s death should amount to one night of extra hugging for some other family too cold to have not been hugging their children tight all along. One night of other people hugging their kids extra tight will not bring back the kids who are gone. It will not ease the pain of the parents who lost their children.

    • But that is just it. There is no ease for this, there is nothing anyone could say to to make this better. There is nothing. Ever Ever Ever. Let us not waste our anger on that. It is a journey for all of us who have joined this club. We lost our babies. There can be no comfort in that. Once you have a baby and they are a part of your life your are forever changed by that wonder and magic and joy that only they can provide. There are no words of comfort.

  4. This post couldn’t describe better our feelings towards what has happened and people’s reactions. I’m sorry about Charlie. I’m sorry about all the pain we have to live with.

  5. Brian once again you have been able to express in words what most (I) can only feel. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – no-one could ever think you were in this for yourself! Love to you and yours

  6. very well said. I hope and pray that these grieving parents are able to find support from other parents that understand what it like to lose a child. Even though I lost my son, I can’t even imagine what they are going through. I got to hold Alexander for his last breath – I feel so sorry that they were not given the same chance.

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