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Trying to Make Sense of the Newtown Tragedy

For parents, it's difficult to explain to children what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But what helps is focusing on the heroes who emerged that day.

Trying to Make Sense of the Newtown Tragedy


As I sat down to ponder my Life in The Mom Lane article this week there simply didn’t seem to be any real decision as to what subject to choose. Yes, I would have loved to write an article that would spread some holiday cheer but there is no bigger issue on the minds of moms right now than the tragic events that took place .

I admit that, when I woke up Friday morning, my mind was pretty much consumed with holiday stress. Frankly, that morning nothing seemed more monstrous than the task of getting everything ready for the Christmas holiday.

That feeling, however, didn’t last very long. I was in line at a local store when the first indications of what had happened began pouring in.

My phone buzzed and I quickly glanced at a tweet from Patch referring to the breaking news on Newtown Patch. I stood in line appalled to read the news that there had been a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and that it was likely that a number of young children were the victims.

I glanced at the woman behind me in line, told her what I had read and we both shook our heads wondering how such a thing could possibly happen. Little did we know, at that point, that the news would continue to get worse as the day went on and, when all was said and done, the world would be mourning the loss of twenty six innocent lives.

It didn’t take long for all of us to learn that, inside the walls of the school, 20 children and six adults lost their lives in an almost incomprehensible tragedy.

As a mom I can’t even begin to comprehend how such a tragedy could possibly take place. I can’t imagine the pain that so many families in Newtown are suffering and can’t fathom the magnitude of their grief.

Most of all I can’t dream how anyone could be filled with so much anger and hatred that they would want to take it out on children so young that they had barely had an opportunity to begin living.

The question of course is that if we, as moms, can’t understand the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School how in the world can we help our children understand? Honestly, I think the answer is that we simply cannot.

As moms we long to make things better and, while we cannot change tragic events that took place in Newtown, perhaps we can help out children see that even the worst situations do sometimes have small pieces of hope to offer.

By now we have all heard the stories of heroism that came out of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Principal Dawn Hochsprung and School Psychologist Mary Sherlach heard shots, raced out of a meeting and attempted to stop the gunman before he made it any further into the school.

It is even believed that Hochsprung turned on the intercom so that teachers could hear the struggle and realize that the lockdown was not a drill. Both women lost their lives trying to protect their beloved students. Another young teacher, Victoria Soto, is said to have died shielding her first grade students from the shots.

There are countless stories of teachers barricading themselves and their students in closets and cubbies trying to stay safe from the gunman. There are stories of teachers comforting children, playing games and even coloring to pass the time while the tragedy unfolded.

There is no way to truly explain what happened inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. We will likely never understand the shooter’s motives or know what would make him want to take so many lives that day.

As a mom I truly believe that the best thing I can do is to look at the stories of heroism and find hope in the fact that so many people were willing to put their lives on the line to protect the students that day.

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