I was at Kohls with a friend on Friday finishing up my Christmas shopping when I heard about the shooting in Connecticut. My husband texted me “did you hear about the school shooting?!?” Instantly I started freaking out. My son is in high school and two little ones in elementary school, one in 3rd grade and one in kindergarten.
I said no, and asked what happened. It felt like an eternity before he responded to me, and I thought it was one of our schools. Then he told me that a number of small children had been shot in Connecticut. Fighting the tears was impossible. I couldn’t hold them back.
When I got home I curled into bed and cried. I felt it in the very core of my soul. Every fiber of my being ached for those small children, teachers, and the families that were left behind. I was yelling at my husband, completely incapable of wrapping my head around how anyone could do such a thing.
I can hardly stand to watch the news anymore. The things that happen just rip me apart inside. This ultimately triggered a panic in me that I still cannot shake.
Hearing the stories about things that happen to kids while they are playing, even if they are safe in their own yards, keeps me from allowing my children their own freedoms to play and be kids. When I was little there was never any real danger around. We would walk blocks to the local grocery store for candy, ride our bikes after dark, I didn’t even know what a bike helmet was. My dad would tell me if anyone tried to grab me to scream, poke their eyes out, kick them in the balls, do whatever I could to defend myself. It wasn’t a regular conversation but just something that was mentioned in passing.
What has happened to the world we live in?
I can’t allow my daughter to go further than I can visibly see her, and I don’t allow my 8 year old son to leave our quiet street unless he is with his friends. I drive them to and from the bus stop, and I cant even let them cross the street without freaking out. Now, I am afraid to send them to school.
They attend a small school of about 200 students in a quiet little town. I had never questioned their safety or the quality of their education. Now I do.
This horrible event has left me so paranoid that I would much prefer to have my children at home with me 24/7. I know that I cannot logically do that, that would just be crazy. Knowing that, however, does not make sending them out to play, to their friends, to school, anywhere – without feeling a suffocating concern.
I had nightmares all night last night that my two older boys were murdered. It was horrible. I must have woke up 5 or 6 times during the night and each time I fell back asleep the dream continued where it had left off. I could not stop this dream. Even though it was a dream and every time I woke I was relieved that it was a bad dream, it did not change the way the dream left me feeling.
The parents of those little ones lost probably closed their eyes praying to wake up from the nightmare they are living in, only to be left with the empty soul crushing pain they were facing.
I have watched two Aunts lose a child. I have seen a mothers pain and loss continue for over 20 years. I pray for the families of all 26 adults and children that were killed by a man who was clearly mentally ill, that they can find peace and comfort in some way. I hope that all of those families can find their way back from the dark place they are currently in.
I also hope and pray that one day I can quit living in fear that something terrible will happen to my own kids because of all the things I see on the news. My husband tells me to relax a bit, but I just cant. I have accepted that it is just one of the many terrible consequences of living with anxiety and paranoia.
Boy and mom photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 17 Dec 2012