Sandy Hook. A year later. Is that really all it’s been? One year? It feels like so much longer and yet… somehow it still feels like yesterday. My heart still skips a beat to see a police car outside either of my sons’ schools. Used to be a police car at a school meant a rather vague safety talk about not taking candy from strangers and maybe a chance to sit in the officer’s car. Now they’re there watching, on guard against nameless, faceless potential threats. Both boys have had real lockdown situations at their schools and while I find it unnerving, they take it in stride. That makes me want to scream, ‘No! No! No! This is NOT normal!’
A year has passed and I still have nightmares now and then. I skip past the month of December when I flip back through last year’s journal. It will be a very long time before I can look at some of those entries. Last year’s Christmas letter, which I was writing when the news broke, still sits unfinished, the half-formed thoughts that had been coming into focus remain scattered. The blog post I wrote in January still holds true. I find myself still very much out of answers. There is no undoing the horrible evil that was done that day. So the best I can do is to hug my kids tighter, to be quicker to tell them I love them, to do more of the silly little things that we love to do and to laugh as much as we can at the craziness life throws at us. Very simply, to bring as much good to the ones around me as I can and teach my kids to do the same.
The boys are at their father’s house for the weekend, leaving me time and quiet to reflect on this past year. There’s a new playground within sight of my backyard now, bright flamingo pink and dedicated to teacher Vicki Soto. I heard the chorus singing ‘Feliz Navidad’ when it was dedicated back in June. I could only stand and cry while over all of it a plane circled overhead pulling a banner that read: Live. Love. Laugh.
What else can we do?
I went there this morning at 9:30. It’s the first time I’ve gone to the park since the new playground was built. It’s cold today and the snow is falling. Three little pine trees have been decorated with pink and purple Christmas ornaments. I took photos but I found I couldn’t set foot beyond the paths that marked the edge of the playground. It was so perfect, so still, and somehow, I knew, it was not to be disturbed. Even the birds and squirrels, who are usually quite busy in that park, had chosen to be still. The few inches of snow covered the playground in a blanket of white and with more snow falling, there was an absolute hush in this place with the sign that reads: Where Angels Play.
As I walked back up the hill to my car, I saw a painted star nailed to one of the trees. It read simply: HOPE.
What further answer could I need?