The details and days of a busy new year--with deadlines, goals, and delights up ahead. Smiles from a boy with a dimpled face, glimpses of another sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's "much cosier" bed, joys and excitement of new-fallen snow and a hill to sled down.
Hot chocolate with maple syrup and marshmallows for when they come inside.
There's a welcome-home greeting for a just-arrived husband, another need to discipline and separate siblings who for a moment become enemies, a dinner to plan and to make.
The beauty, love, and mundane annoyances of family life--lived large and full.
But below the surface, five minutes from my thoughts, are details that keep me up at night...still. That lead me to the couch to sob for a few minutes while the kids play upstairs. The recollections of friends and their children--touched by evil itself.
Five minutes from my thoughts, there's the sick, numb feeling that waxes and wanes according to which street I drive down and what direction it takes me--past which signs, memorials, or schools.
There's the Christmas play we attended on Main Street the night before. The six-year-old and his brother darting in front of me with loud giggles.
The reading his name on the victim list two days later.
Five minutes from my thoughts, there's a mother down the street. There's a boy that used to play outside. I can't drive by her house without a desperate, wordless prayer. I take courage from her own inspiring words: "My grief is not so overwhelming that I can't move forward. I am moving forward. And I am not walking, I'm running--just like my boy did."
The dance of forward and backward. Like it or not, we find ourselves in it. I may not write about it in this space too much, as the healing lies in the moving on--not in the glances behind. But it seems inauthentic not to give it voice one more time.
Because in the midst of a meaningful life I adore and treasure, in the midst of a new book scribbled away and thought of often, in the midst of happy, healthy children, December 14th remains just five minutes from my thoughts.
Please continue to send your prayers this direction.
"What happened in Sandy Hook is reverberating all over the country and
even the world. It seems that we've reached an end point in our
acceptance of violence,
as well as the neglect of our attention toward the most disturbed and desperate among us.
The kindness and strength that we have seen within -- and toward --
Newtown this past month is an example of who we can be as a nation."
~ My friend Miranda Pacchiana wrote this piece for the Huffington Post:
Sandy Hook One Month Later: How We're Doing Now