Thursday, December 20, 2012

Silent Night

On a cold, wet night 400 miles from home I joined other families as they awkwardly approached the school patio of my granddaughter's school.  It was too dark to make out faces or expressions.  In the shadow of the school building, we gathered  for a candlelight vigil in support of the 26 lost in the Connecticut school shooting.  The young principal, about the age of my own children, opened with a few sentences and then turned it over  to a mom who said she just felt like she had to do something and had asked the Principal to hold the vigil.  Her husband's voice broke as he tried to express what was in each of our hearts.  We tried to light candles but the whipping wind snatched the glow quickly as each candle was lit, much like the lives of the 26 were snatched in the horror of gunfire last week.

Even as the candles extinguished we stood without leaving.  We wanted to leave... but just seemed glued to our spots, hoping to complete some sort of unfinished business that we couldn't even put into words.  Finally a parent suggested that we sing Silent Night. We did. The Principal suggested another moment of silence before we dispersed.  Even in the hard chill of the night it was hard to leave.  I think we had each come because we wanted to do more, but we just didn't know what to do.  We left slowly, heartbroken...

My life is surrounded by teachers - my peers, of course, but also my husband, son and daughter, my daughter-in-law, my sister, niece and nephew.  I can't even think about what it would have been like to get that call that any one of them would not be coming home.  I do not doubt that each of them would have protected the children in their care at all costs...  and my family would never have been the same.  My first grandchild attends public school.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about her in a building with gunfire, and I can't imagine losing her to such a senseless act of insanity.

I can't change the events of the past.  I don't really want to go to a school with metal detectors and bars on the windows, being afraid of every stranger that walks the hallway.  On the other hand, I want to do everything I can to make sure that the children are safe.  I don't know what the political debate will be or what it will bring, but I know that I must find my voice and advocate on the side of the children - always on the side of the children.  I plan to make sure that my children feel safe and protected and that they know I will be there for them, no matter what.  I plan to make sure parents know that I will protect their child and care about their child, in the same way that I know someone is protecting and caring for my own precious grandchild, so far away.  I have always believed that the children that step through my door come by Divine appointment, so I will continue to pray for God's discernment as I walk this path with my children.  I will rededicate my days to making, not only their academics stronger, but their minds stronger, so that they do not find themselves so desolate and mentally sick that they have a need to strike out - that they are strong enough to understand those that are suffering and reach out before the moment of despair.  And... in every step I take from this moment, I will always remember... the 26.

4 comments:

JJ Brown said...

Amen

Marie said...

Beautiful, dayle, just beautiful...RIP little ones, and fearless teachers who lost their lives protecting our next generation.

MaryBeth Matics said...

Eloquent as always dayle.

MaryBeth Matics said...

Eloquent as always dayle. My heart goes out to the families.