A Year Ago

SONY DSCAs I go to bed tonight, my thoughts are all focused on a year ago.

A year ago tonight, I was still innocent.  I was still safe.

A year ago tonight, I went to sleep in a world where first graders gathered in the meeting area to listen to a story, not to die in a blaze of gunfire.

A year ago, I hadn’t yet checked my email while my students were outside at recess. I hadn’t yet read the news from Newtown, learning that a madman had massacred an entire classroom of little ones.  I hadn’t yet recoiled in horror and disbelief, then rushed outside to check on the safety of MY kids.

A year ago, I hadn’t been forced to spend an afternoon with my ten year old charges, pretending that everything was OK.  I hadn’t had to run to the copy room so that I could silently wipe my tears, trying to be strong for the children. I hadn’t yet had to wrestle with what I could possibly say to them to explain the madness.

A year ago, one short year ago, I hadn’t yet hugged my colleagues as we cried and grieved knowing that our last child was safely loaded onto the bus and sent home.

One year ago, I hadn’t yet stopped at the bank, where I failed to remember any of the information for the deposit slip.  I hadn’t yet turned to the woman waiting impatiently behind me t0 try to explain my confusion. “I’m sorry”, I hadn’t yet said, “I’m a teacher…..this was a very hard day.”  A year ago, I hadn’t yet had that stranger embrace me, putting her tear stained cheek on my shoulder. I hadn’t had the bank teller reach out to take my hand. Hadn’t had the man beside me at the counter hug me and say, “I’m so sorry.”

A year ago, I hadn’t yet gotten angry, and hadn’t yet declared that I would fight with every breath to make this country safer for little children.  I hadn’t yet vowed that I would work to bring some sensible, logical gun laws into this insane society. I hadn’t yet promised that I would do whatever I could to take a stand against the NRA.

A year ago tonight, I was still just a teacher in a classroom.

A year ago, one eternally long year ago, 20 mothers hadn’t yet kissed their babies goodnight, never dreaming for one minute that it would be for the very last time.

15 thoughts on “A Year Ago

  1. My dear friend. I have no words of solace. No happy talk. Nothing to say or do but grit my teeth and pray (me!) that nothing like this would happen ever again. Instead it becomes familiar on the news.

    My sister lived in Sandy Hook. She raised her children there. All three of them went to Sandy Hook Elementary School. They all survived. The twenty children who died a year ago deserved to survive as well.

    Wish I could give you a real, flesh on flesh hug Tonight especially.


    • I got in my car yesterday, after checking the news on and off all day. My first thought was, “Thank God. We got through the day with no copy cat school shooting.”
      Then I heard about Colorado.
      Damn the NRA to hell.


  2. My heart breaks all over again reading this. We so love our children, just as the Sandy Hook teachers did. No child deserves this end. No human being deserves this end. Beautifully written, my friend. Hug your students. They may not understand why, but maybe someday they will.


  3. Life can be so strange and cruel. I am sad for you.
    However as a teacher you also live in a world filled with innocence, I hope that can inspire you and reignite some of the spark this tragedy quenched within you. Children are our future, here’s hoping they do a better job of your country in time to come. You have the power to change the future just by working with them.
    Hugs from here to you. x


    • Thank you, Tric.
      You are so right; yesterday was a really bittersweet day. Its a week before vacation and we are awaiting a big snow storm. The level of hilarity in my classroom was almost overwhelming. On any other day, I might have gotten cranky. Yesterday, all I could do was laugh with them and think, “Thank God you’re all OK.”


  4. What a very difficult day that was! It was difficult to talk about it as a mother with my own children, and it must have so much harder for you teachers to realize that it is such an unfortunate realism that these things go on in this world today, and that even schools are not safe havens for our children. It is heartbreaking to know that happened, and heartwarming that you were comforted by not only your colleagues but by strangers to prove that while there is evil in this world, there is still so much good here too.


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