15 Dec

These words were helpful for me yesterday:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.   — Mister Rogers

Today, it feels unreal.  The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

There is no way to wrap my mind around the horror of 20 children and 6 adults dead.  We say those words over and over, i think as if the numbers carry some reality with them.

i can’t fathom the deaths, the loss of young lives, so much potential ~ gone.

But it is the survivors, the children and adults who hid, that make me cry.  Under desks, in closets, swept to safety by an adult, adults corralling kids into classrooms and closets, imagining the terror and the scars those children and the adults who protected them will carry forever, that is what touches me most.

Someday, i will try to figure out why that is, how that makes sense.

But today i’ll mourn with the survivors, the families, the other children, the ones who didn’t die yesterday.  

i was thinking last night about what that means.  How do i mourn with people i’ve never met who live so far away?  What does that mean when there is nothing i can actually do to help?

For me, it looks like this:

~  Today, i will not take my loved ones for granted.  i will remember to appreciate my good fortune in being with them.

~  Today, i will not feel whiny about my daughter and granddaughter not being here for Christmas,  i will be glad they are both safely alive and well in  Very-Far-Away.

~  Today, i will try to create non-violent space within myself.  Rather than looking for the faults in our society to blame for what happened, i’ll look inside myself.  i’ll remember Thomas Merton’s words:

“Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” 
― Thomas Merton


13 Responses to “Mourning”

  1. Lady P December 15, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Taking the chance, that I might be expelled from kinky bloggers society I feel a more political comment on the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting is in place. Personal reflections on hate will not expel weapons from the streets.

    Where I live, very few people can aquire a permit to have or carry fire arms. Only people whose jobs are in the security business (i.e. police, military, etc) may carry fire arms in public places.

    I have lived i NYC too, for a while, many years ago. Even then I was appalled by the general measures of protection, that were taken by ordinary people, just living their lives.
    – there were bars on the windows at street level and on the first floor
    – there was an electronic alarm, that had to be set in the house
    – when we visited people living in more suburban areas, they had guns in the house
    – children were picked up by car and transported by adults, they weren’t allowed to walk the streets to a friends house.

    Where I live, there are no bars on windows, except in jails and banks. Most people don’t feel the need to have an alarm at home. In suburban areas many people only lock their front door at night. Children walk or bike to school and between friends.

    In some ways USA is land of the Brave. Home of the scared. What is the freedom in that?

    Why do you want to live like this? Why do you permit the madness of allowing every man to have a gun? Why do you allow yourselves and raise your kids to live in fear?

    I’m saddened by the fact that it happened again. Innocent lives where lost and many more affected.

    In the words of an old song: “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn”
    When you allow every person to have a gun, chances are that he/she will use it.


    • aisha December 16, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      Dear Lady P,

      You make some excellent points. i hope my post today responds to this, and much more! Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.



  2. sin December 15, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Aisha, I agree with you and with Lady P. On days like today, we all mourn and try to look for answers and hold those we love a little closer.

    I’m glad you’re my friend.

    • aisha December 16, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Hi, Sin,

      Yes, that’s the first step, isn’t it?

      i’m glad you’re my friend too!!



  3. jadescastle December 15, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    There are many worse things people can do than kill. Namely, they leave us alive, to live with what they did.

    This morning, i’m remembering the eerie quiet of my last elem school, on the days reserved for practicing what we would do with gunmen in the building. We huddled in the closet in the dark and you could smell the fear as we all grappled with what it meant to shield young bodies with nothing but our own.

    i remember the rage i felt that our classroom doors only locked from the outside so if someone was on a rampage, i would have had to leave those kids and risk opening my door to lock it. i remember the disgust i felt when i was told that i couldn’t leave the paper covering my window, except for days we were practicing for a person with a loaded gun inside.

    i’m wondering if those teachers faced the same dilemmas, of buildings not made or upgraded for any form of security and how many lives may have been saved from simple measures. During other school shootings, we learned that some gunmen left locked classrooms alone. We learned that people who couldn’t be seen made less easy targets.

    i don’t know any details about this case. i lived in CT for a long summer once though and am thinking of how i thought the people there were trusting and would have never seen this coming. i’m thinking of how i was a preschool teacher when Columbine happened, and found out the news from a shocked and shaking parent, who came early to collect her twins that day.

    The shooting in PA on the Amish grounds should have taught us that these things happen everywhere. As a society, wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped shunning each other for, say, having a different relationship or sex life and started focusing on what causes these violent acts. In the meantime, aisha, i agree. Each moment is a new chance to let the people we know how much we love them and how glad we are that they are in our lives.

    i’m glad you are in my life. Very. 🙂

    • aisha December 16, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      Dear Jade,

      Yes, i think like me you tap into the psychological pain of living in that kind of uncertainty and danger, of not being able to protect, of feeling angry and helpless. Yes.

      Loving the people we know is sometimes the only way we have to make a difference.

      i’m glad you’re in my life too!



  4. striving for Peace December 15, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    I was sheltered from this news until about 2pm — then turned on the radio and was horrified.

    I agree that something should be done


    I don’t know

    but we must find something

    This reminded me of the commuter train shootings on long island when I lived there — a man got on the train
    and shot people as he walked up the aisle

    it’s a place where people feel so safe
    that they fall asleep

    and a school is like that in the fact that
    we expect our children to be safe.

    we worry about them everywhere else

    but not in school

    there’s a horror of the murder of children and the adults there to guide them
    but there’s also

    the violation of removing a safe haven

    and the ongoing horror for our children
    of feeling unsafe
    in a place that they haven’t worried
    at least not our littles

    of such a horrible thing

    • aisha December 16, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      Dear Sfp,


      Really, you’ve said it so well, all i can say is yes.

      Thank you.


  5. Sirqsmlb December 15, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Oh he was a wise man. I hold many of his quotes dear to my sole. Thank you

    • aisha December 16, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      Me too, Fiona. Hugs, aisha

  6. Wordwytch December 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Like so many of you, I am numb. Tearful. Sad. Angry. Frustrated. I can’t say what I do in the ‘real world’, but this shooting comes far to close. It’s as much about mental illness as it is about gun control. While children died in Connecticut yesterday, children in China were being attacked by a knife welding man.

    Yes, there need to be better laws. There also needs to be better care of our fellow man. When was the last time any of us heard that someone killed X amount of people because he was happy? Well adjusted? In a good frame of mind? We don’t. So many of these people are unbalanced, mentally ill, depressed or deranged, and no one has done anything, because it might be ’embarrassing’ to mention that the person might be (shuuush) Mentally Ill.

    We can’t lock up all the guns. Connecticut has some of the tightest gun control laws in the US, and it still happened. No, we need to take care of people. Help them before they go off the deep end. Quit hiding or looking the other way when things go wrong. As Mr. Rogers said, it’s time to look for the caring people. It’s time to be the caring people.

    • aisha December 16, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      Dear Wordwytch,

      You make a good point about mental illness being untreated. And we really don’t know what the story was with this young man. At the same time, the vast majority of mentally ill people don’t harm anyone, or are more likely to harm themselves than others.

      It is necessary for us to begin to take care of each other, i so agree. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.




  1. Heartbroken | Adventures of a Word Wytch - December 15, 2012

    […] posted on her blog.   Many of us put our feelings into words.  Yes, there need to be better laws. There needs to be […]

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