I have debated back and forth on whether or not to write this blog post for the past few days. I don't want to make this even the littlest bit about me, but I don't know how to accurately get my feelings across without including personal things.
In 1999, when two high school boys went into their school and killed and injured so many of their classmates, I was 16 and a sophomore. Those kids that died were my age, and it was devastating. I spent a lot of time learning about those kids and prayed a lot for their families, and the healing of the ones that made it through. Over time, my thoughts have gone out less and less often to those families and kids, who are now grown ups, many with their own children. I still view it as one of the saddest days in my life, even though as far as I know, I have never met a single person who was in the school that day.
Friday, the unthinkable happened, and it was children the age of my child. As I prayed for all the families, friends, and classmates going through this tragedy, I once again couldn't help but try to figure out why something like this would happen. But there are no answers. There are families torn apart. Children who were taken too soon, and others that will have to live with the memories of seeing and hearing friends, classmates, and teachers killed. The people in this community need all the thoughts and prayers we can send them. And we need to remember, sadly, how short life can be.
As I learned that it was first graders that died, my mind's eyes automatically pictured sweet little innocent children that looked so much like the beautiful little six and seven year olds that I've come to love over the last year and a half. As a very involved first grade parent in a small school (there are only 19 kids in our entire first grade this year), I know every single child in first grade. I love every one of them. I can't begin to imagine what it would feel like to lose even one of those precious children in such a terrible way. My heart hurts more than words can express for all those who are grieving over loved ones, especially when they are grieving over so many lost loved ones at once.
Learning that teachers died trying to protect innocent children is heart breaking, but not surprising. Teachers shouldn't ever have to die for our children, but it's no surprise to me that they are willing to do so. I have no doubt that both of my son's teachers would be willing to die for "their kids." It's so sad that it takes such a tragedy, but I hope that you remember not only to send up thoughts and prayers for those that are hurting because of this tragedy, but to hug your children a little tighter, and maybe offer a hug to your kids' teachers as well, and thank them for loving your children.