I want to not write about the CT tragedy. I want to not even think about it. I want to look at it through the sympathetic but objective eyes of a crisis counselor, the way I did back in the day when it was my job to be mobilized to schools where there were events resulting in mass trauma. Pace and lead until the hysteria calms and the shock relaxes its paralysis. Sit with the kids and run a psychological debrief. Work with the teachers to identify students who will need longer-term help. Offer referrals for PTSD. Hug complete strangers because that's what will help. Unload on colleagues at the end of the day, the week. Come home and leave the grief behind at the office. Weep on the outside.
I am a mother now. I identify with everybody. There is grief and loss in every family represented at that school, that town, that state. But also strength. Like this one. I was in the car driving home from Christmas shopping when we heard the news on the radio. The girls asked me why the flag outside the supermarket was at half-mast. I didn't know, until we turned off our CD (blaring carols) and tuned into the radio. Immediately, I went into (and made myself come out of) crisis counselor mode - such an easy coping mechanism. After I'd overcome the denial, I mean. If I allowed myself to feel for everyone who was hurt and harmed and hurting that day and the days before and after, I'd implode. So I'm not. I will pray for them. I will hug my family and be thankful and try to avoid survivor's guilt. I will answer my children's questions, if they have any. The usual.
But I will also look at Jesus and say, "Thank you for still being big enough to be in charge of the world and all its sadness and joy. Thank you for Christmas." And mean it. And then rest. Hugs to all of you out there who are feeling this and any other ache - may you have peace this Christmas and hope for the new year.