Last Friday, I picked Jakob up from daycare like I do almost every weekday. But this time, it was different. Very different.
Here at The Blount Countian, like a lot of you, we had spent most of the day doing what we would normally do – but also keeping an eye on the television and monitoring the horrific event in Newtown, Conn.
The scene brought back memories – Timothy McVeigh and Oklahoma City, 9/11 and Al Qaeda, Columbine with Harris and Klebold – take your pick. All were horrific events carried out by someone who held a grudge or felt they had been slighted or didn’t fit in. All of these acted without remorse. All will be riveted into my brain until the day I die.
I kept thinking that those children – so young, all 6 or 7, and beautiful – will never have the lives they should have had. They will not grow up to be doctors or lawyers or ballplayers or nurses or mommys or daddys. Never again will they bring joy to their parents or relatives or friends. They will live on in memories but that is a poor substitute for a smile or a laugh or a hug.
I felt, and still feel, anger. Anger toward the shooter. Anger toward those around him and why they could not have done a better job of being his parent or his friend. Of course, the world has shown us many times over that sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you are raised or how many friends you have. We now know that those around him were wary of him and felt that he was potentially a threat.
I felt guilty. Guilty that my child and my family was safe and that so many families in Connecticut were torn apart. That night – and every day since – we all joined them in their hurting and grieving.
I said a prayer. I prayed for the little victims of this senseless act and their families. I prayed that God would welcome the little ones and give strength to those left behind. I prayed for my child and my family.
In the end, I hugged my child and asked him how his day was.
“I missed you today, daddy.” I missed you too, baby. rr