21 Aug 2014
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Living Life More Fully After Newtown Shootings

The Sandy Hook school shootings had a profound effect on columnist Elizabeth Fish. The New Year offers the opportunity for change.

Living Life More Fully After Newtown Shootings

The Newtown shootings have affected me even more so than Columbine, the movie theatre shootings in Colorado or any of the dozens of other shootings that have been in the news this year. Newtown really hit me very hard.

The fact that a person went to a local elementary school, shot his way in and killed every adult and child in his way, for little, if any, apparent reason is devastating. Maybe it is because I have a first grade child at a local elementary school. And there was little that could have been done at Sandy Hook or any other elementary school to prevent such a tragedy.

I still get teary thinking about the shooting and cannot fathom how President Barack Obama named each victim in his speech at Newtown days after the shooting. It was and remains completely heartbreaking. I am incredibly sad for each individual lost to the senselessness—young and old, all with so much left to do in their lives. Literally lives lost. Gone. 

I cannot imagine how each of their families can deal with the horror that has occurred. Or how the students of Sandy Hook go back to any sense of normalcy. I hope and pray that each person affected can come to some kind of peace at some point—although I don't know if I ever could. 

As we send our children back to school this week, after an extended winter break, I just have to believe that a new year, a new start, will let us all move forward with a new perspective. There is no explanation or rationale for what happened in Sandy Hook—but the fact is it could have happened absolutely anywhere. 

"You have to live each day to the fullest" is a phrase we have all heard so many times in our lives. But the truth of the matter is we don't. We get caught up in the day to day, and the things that are truly not as important as we might have made them out to be.

For me, I have tried to spend more quality time with my family this break. Tried to laugh a little more. Tried to be more spontaneous, give up a little control. Reach out to friends a little more. Spend more time with all my kids in our room laughing and being ridiculous.

I'm not saying we're going crazy. I'm just saying I have tried and will continue to try to do something "full" everyday.

To Newtown, my heart, thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you. 

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