Monday, December 17, 2012

sandy hook: no words

I dropped Olivia off at her elementary school this morning, watched her walk tentatively through the front doors that usually find her bouncing, and sobbed.

I have not posted about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School because there are no words.  Even as I moved through the motions of our weekend, I heard very little conversation about it.  It seems we are shrouded in a devastating, but quiet grief.

However, when Olivia's school counselor told me they would not be addressing this terrible tragedy, even with the sixth graders, at school today, I was surprised.  I got to thinking about the difference between quiet and silence.

Quiet feels like something given.  With it, we get time and space to absorb, reflect, mourn.    

Silence  feels like something imposed.  It is absolute and feels like denial.

Finding a balance between quiet and silence can be very difficult after such a tragedy.  As a nation, we need to turn inward, to heal in the quiet of our hearts and minds.  We also need to give the victims' families, and the residents of Newtown the quiet they need to grieve.  At the same time, however, we need to speak our condolences; they need to tell their stories, and we all need address pertinent topics such as gun control and mental health care.

We need to be quiet.  Be we can't be silent.

I don't always know how to do that. 

Over the weekend, kids across the country used social media to spread the word to dress today in either yellow and blue, the colors of Newtown High School, or green and white, the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I appreciated and admired this show of support and grief for its quiet, but also for its voice. 

On a day where I didn't know what to do because as a nation, we have failed to protect our children, what a bittersweet irony that it was the children who found a way through the day. 


  1. No words and so many many words. Words that try to describe the sadness, but fail. Words that try to express the anger we have about what we think caused this. Words that try to describe our fear about our children in particular and our country in general. Twitter is, of course, where I went to process some of these ideas. But is that where I should go? Shouldn't there be more places where we talk about it face to face? I did have some good face to face time with hubby, a few people at church, a few at a basketball game, and someone at school today. I believe there are so many things we need to do to solve these shootings, and part of it needs to be more face to face time with people we like and people we are not inclined to like. I almost always like someone more after talking to them, not simply seeing them from far away as they may be doing things I don't like such as fertilizing their lawn and ignoring their recycling bin.

    Quiet is medication for the soul, but silence probably usually causes pain to fester.

    1. "no words, but so many many words." that about sums it up.

      i first learned the news on twitter. i think it doesn't replace face time, but serves a different purpose - connecting us with so many more people than we could face to face. i suppose both serve a purpose (to build community) just differently. i'm glad for both.

    2. You are right. I contradicted myself. So many many words, and the written word helps so many people to heal. I am glad for both as well, including you! I am giving you a digital hug.

    3. thanks franny. right back at you! :)

  2. i've been talking about this very thing. getting really quiet you can really listen....and letting actions arise from the stillness. this is not a time for numbed tape over our mouths, for whatever reason that happens.

    thanks, as always, for sharing!

    1. stillness - another great word for it. and, as always, thank YOU for sharing! :)