Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 14th, 2012.

As I drove Ayla to her aunt's house they announced on the radio that a gunman had entered an elementary school in Newtown, CT.  They said that there was one wounded but no children had been harmed.  I dropped her off and went to work, not thinking much more of it.  The next thing I heard the gunman had, in fact, killed 20 children and 6 adults.  Each child was 6 or 7 years old.  6 or 7.

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

All day I held back tears.  I had to stop reading reports and stop looking at pictures because my heart was so heavy.  Kyle and I went to see The Hobbit.  It was our work Christmas party.  During the entire movie I kept thinking about those children and those families.  I felt guilty sitting in a movie theater.  I missed my little girl.

That night we snuggled Ayla longer than usual.  She was in such a great mood.  The best she'd been in for a while.  She giggled with us and kissed us and hugged us tight.  We let her lay in our bed between us before she got in her own bed.  She laid there on her tummy, with her chin resting in her hands, and said,

"Guess what guys?!"
"What?", we asked.
"I love you!", she said.
"We love you too!"
"I love you more and most!"

We hugged her really tight and for a long time. After she was tucked into her bed Kyle, who was hugging me, said, "Thanks for making such a cute daughter."

I started to cry.  I let out the tears I had been holding in all day.  Kyle just hugged me tight while I cried like a baby.

I do have a cute daughter.  I am so blessed that I got to hold her and tuck her in and hear her say, "Guess what?  I love you!"

So many parents will never get to hear that again from their baby in this mortal life.  They had to come home to their homes without their babies.  They had to see their baby's stocking on the wall.  And see their wrapped presents under the tree.  They had to see heaps of dirty clothes for those babies.  And scattered toys.

Their homes and their hearts must feel so empty.

I cried not for those sweet children who lost their lives, but for their mommies and daddies.  I cried because I can't even imagine what it must feel like.  I can't even wrap my head around such a terrible, tragic thing.  The grief that they must feel... there are no words.  Absolutely no words.  My heart aches for them.  Every time I think of them a lump forms in my throat that I have to swallow down. All there is for me to do is pray.  Pray that those families can be comforted.  Pray that they know that their children or family members are with our Father in Heaven.

I am thankful for my belief in a Heavenly Father who loves us and is waiting for us with open arms when our time on earth is through.

And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen. 
Enos 1:27  (My very favorite scripture.)

"There is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my father."  There was a place prepared for each and every child and adult that lost their life that day.  Our Heavenly Father was there, waiting.  Prepared to bring these babies home.  He had a place ready.  Just for them.

I saw some comforting words on Instagram this morning.  They were posted by Poppa143:
"I need to believe something happened that morning in an elementary school in Connecticut.  I need to believe these precious, innocent, dream filled and pure hearted children were spared one second of fear and one glimpse of the horror.  I need to believe God sent sweet angels to these classrooms and corridors--maybe the same angels who once directed the shepherds to a peaceful manger.  I need to believe, moments before the evil entered, their sweet spirits were beckoned and one by one, they took each others hands and with the joy and eagerness of children on a field trip they left us, led away by all the love they had always known, protected by The Hand that led them home.  I need to believe they entered heaven together, laughing, with light-up tennis shoes and wonder-filled eyes!  And heaven hugged them tightly and showed them all it's grandeur which now will be their home.  I need to believe this."

I find comfort in the fact that those sweet babies, those babies who were so innocent and so pure, are with our Heavenly Father.  They are in a much better place than we could even imagine.

I pray that their mommies and daddies and brothers and sister and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and their sweet little school-mates can feel their little arms wrapped around them tightly.  And I hope that they can feel the arms of their Heavenly Father holding them all together.  Especially at this time of year, I hope that they can find peace and comfort.

For I have held the precious gift that love brings
even though I never saw a Christmas star
I know there is a light I have felt it burn inside
and I have seen it shining from afar

Christmas is the time to come together
a time to put all differences aside
and I reach out my hand to the family of man
to share the joy I feel at Christmas time

for the truth that binds us all together
I would like to say a simple prayer
that at this special time you will have true peace of mind
and love to last throughout the coming year

and if you believe in love
that will be more than enough
for peace to last throughout the coming year
and peace on earth will last throughout the year.

(The Christmas Wish - John Denver)

My heart is so heavy.  I hurt so deeply for people that I have never met.  I know that my grief will fade and that I will stop thinking about it so often, but I hope that the way I cherish my little girl today never, ever fades.  I hope that I will never take her for granted.  Even when I am beyond frustrated and want to hit my head against the wall, I hope I remember the way she says, "Guess what?  I love you!"  And I hope that she knows how truly and completely that I love her.  Always.

Hug your babies close to you.  Hug your family.  Pray for the families who are grieving the loss of their loved ones.  Pray that they will find peace and comfort.

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