The once quiet, peaceful streets of Newtown, Connecticut, were suddenly disrupted a year ago and have never been quite the same since. Newtown will never echo the reassuring aura of a small village of 30,000, or be the town people wanted to live in, away from the crime-ridden big cities many escaped from. As residents would rather have their old life back, their solitude is forefront and in plain view.
The tragic events that took place that day, December 14, 2012, have changed the mood and the structure of regular American families forever. There is no returning to the way things were and the way things should have been. Their lives were transformed before their very eyes in a split second. It has been played out with Newtown’s tears and trials of a tragedy that never should have happened.
The fact remains. A tragic event happened, taking the lives of 20 young children and six adults that learned, socialized, worked, taught and mentored at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Newtown hit the news by an unforeseen action of one singular person. Acting alone, and most likely alone in his own thoughts, the gunman rushed the school and caused the town of Newtown to endure the pain of ongoing tears and trials from the tragedy.
Posting the pictures and names would be redundant in a way. Not to take away from the precious memories of those that were taken that day, but to respect the privacy they deserve. As it has all been played out before, publicity of one of the worst tragedies in American history only promotes more spotlight on a killer that had no determined motive, except a selfish act he randomly chose to do. The sweet children involved, their parents, grandparents, extended family and friends all know the facts of what happened in Newtown, that fateful day a year ago. To mark the one year anniversary will be painful, but one that will ultimately provide more healing, if allowed the privacy they desire.
No one has all the answers as to why it occurred. The what if factor, the why would a loving God allow this to happen question and the various what can we learn from this queries have all been hashed out in different forms over the last year. We can only go on and hope and pray it will never happen again. Still, as we remember Newtown, other tragic events are happening all around the country and abroad, every day as the world continues to spin.
Unending tears of grief from family members and the classmates that witnessed and survived the horrendous morning, continue to haunt their souls and cause unrest. The awful, heart-wrenching day unfolded in ways untold and left many to question the very meaning of life. From investigators, to clergy and funeral directors, everyday life in Newtown has been permanently altered. Scout leaders, art, dance and music instructors feel the pain as well. Young lives snuffed out too soon, resulting in nightmares and anguish. The untold lost wishes and hopes for a better tomorrow.
Traditions of grandparents and care givers give into deep thought of wanting just one more day with the children they loved. A typical six or seven year old is full of excitement, being somewhat grown up and able to do many things, but still a child at heart. Maybe the group of little ones taken that day was a band of angels placed on the Earth for a time, to bring people together through emotion, a quest for life and the answers we all strive for.
After a tragic event happens, all normal activities halt. Siblings and friends are depended on to help fill the void of the one that has been lost, and often the strain of the loss can cause strife within families and marital issues. On the other hand, closer bonds with loved ones can be formed as a result. The regular routines, expectations and schedules are different, all life is changed with losing a loved one in a tragic way. It is never the same.
Many families have experienced grief from unexpected accidents and terminal illnesses, often allowing others to get lost in the shuffle. The loss of a child can become all consuming and dutiful in a way as tributes, photos, and memorials take center stage. Remembering is important and necessary and can be helpful, as grief for each individual is different. Certain ceremonies can be healing and redesigning one’s path is a form of therapy, as each one heals in various ways. Sustaining the ones that are still living is a balance between emotion and reality.
The town of Newtown, Connecticut, will always be remembered through the building of playgrounds in surrounding areas and special foundations that have been established. The Sandy Hook School has been torn down, but the profound loss and sadness will stay for many years to come. As the residents of Newtown rebuild their strength and carry on, the knowledge of what happened still casts a shadow on their lives. A simple nod of acknowledgement speaks words of understanding, as everyone knows what took place.
The tragic event of last year can not be changed, it will never go away, but the memory of those lost will continue to live and inspire those left behind. Life can go on, but in a new way. A way the little ones intended, as they embarked on an unpredictable life. A life we all want and desire, but one we remember that can never be taken for granted. The tears and trials of living through a tragedy can bring new perspectives to our precious lives, one day at a time as we live in this ever changing world.
Editorial by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon