“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.”
― Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere
As a teacher, yesterday’s tragedy in Newton, Connecticut felt like it hit close to home. I am protective of my children, often telling them that I feel like their ‘school mom,’ who has to make sure that they are doing their work in all their classes and making sure they are emotionally and mentally doing fine. I cannot imagine someone walking into my school and taking the lives of my children, but that nightmare can become a reality, and it has been fixated in my mind ever since. In the town of Newton there are parents who never thought their morning hug would be the last one. Parents do not send their children off to school with a thought that their child might not make it back home to them. And there are children who are too young to fully process the horrors they witnessed or the sheer madness and mayhem that sometimes touches our lives in ways that make us think sanity may never resume. Yet my words can only act as nets to try and comment on the grief and sorrow gathering in clouds above Newton, but they could never fully capture all the pain because I was not there and these are just words. But even though I am not a resident of Newton, I think we all share in some way or another in the story, connected as we all are to the larger picture. And we will all grieve in our own personal ways over it, as I hope for just a few moments we can step outside the political agendas that will be pushed and discussed (as we should always discuss ways in which to make our country better and safer) and let ourselves, in the words of Toni Morrison, feel what we feel, even if it’s not happiness.