I lived through Columbine. A horrific experience that occurred just 10 miles from my home.
I lived through the Aurora movie theater shooting just this last summer. Also, a mere 10 or 15 miles from my home.
For some reason, neither of these tragedies shook me quite like Sandy Hook did on Friday. I've asked myself what the difference was. Could it be that it was the age of the children? It's possible. I'll admit, as I saw pictures of students, the terrified and sad expressions on their faces, I could easily imagine that those faces were Skyler's or Savannah's. As I saw parents, frantically trying to locate their children, I couldn't even fathom what that would be like, but I could imagine it enough that it scared me. As a former teacher, I empathized with the men and women in that building who no doubt feared for their own lives, and perhaps even more so, the lives of the children they are committed to protecting.
Obviously, there's been so much press, so much exposure on TV, radio and Facebook. It's tough to take. I read about how sad, angry and scared people are, how some feel laws need to change, policy needs to change, etc., etc., I have my own views about things like gun control, mental health support and policies and practices, however, I won't be sharing those views here on this blog...at least not today. Something has struck me so much more than any law or policy you could put into place.
Life is precious.
I'd be willing to bet that if you asked the families of the children and adults who died in that school on Friday, they would give absolutely anything to be able to hug and hold tight the person that they lost. They would tell them how much they loved them. Over and over and over.
It is important to grieve. Each person grieves in their own way. I choose to learn from tragedy. To gain perspective and be reminded of what truly matters.
Don't waste a single moment. Hold your loved ones tight. Tell them you love them...over and over and over. No law, policy or practice will be able to guarantee any individual's time here on Earth. Life is short. Life is precious. Live. Every. Moment.