Last week I lost my three-year-old son in the library for 60 seconds. If you are a parent, you know that when your child is lost, seconds are minutes and minutes are hours. A slow motion nightmare.
When I found him, his face was covered with tears, a panic on his face I’d never seen. “There’s your mom!” exclaimed the librarian, shaming me.
In my arms, his hysteria only heightened. I thought I lost you. I thought I lost you. I couldn’t find you anywhere! he repeated over and over again, tears streaming down his face.
“You can never lose me,” I lied. “I am always with you, I will never leave you. Nothing bad will ever happen to you.”
Two years ago today, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School while the rest of us Christmas shopped and fought with our mothers. It knocked us over as a nation, as parents, as people who try to convince ourselves that schools are safe and people are mostly kind.
To be perfectly blunt, the sickness of it was almost too much to bear. Some of us turned off our TVs, changed the subject, kept Christmas shopping. Others of us were paralyzed with fear and grief. We couldn’t turn off the news or keep from repeating their names.
We wept for days.
This past fall, my friend Suzie passed a mother putting her young son on the schoolbus for the first time. His frame was small, his backpack too big for his body. She watched as the mother said goodbye, holding back her tears.
She said, “It was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen.”
Today we remember Charlotte and Daniel. Rachel and Olivia. We remember Josephine, Ana, Dylan, and Dawn. Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, and Jesse. James, Grace, Anne, and Emilie. We remember Jack and Noah. Caroline and Jessica. Avielle, Lauren, Mary, and Victoria. We remember Benjamin. We remember Allison.
We remember their lives, whisper their names.
In sorrow, may we find peace. In grief, some small joys.
We hold their families in the light today.