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Sunday, December 16, 2012

when healing seems impossible

a candle lit in memory at St. John's

I just got off the phone with my mother-in-law and as we talked about the upcoming holidays the topic turned to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. As a nurse she has a unique insight into mental health and what if anything could be done to prevent something like this happening again. I told her that I just couldn't read anymore about this event. I can't sleep. I lay awake and think of those children and those teachers who died trying to save them. My heart aches.

Deepak Chopra offered these words about healing after tragedy that offered me solace. I hope it brings you comfort as well. 

In every call, in every conversation I've had since Friday, the topic has turned to Newtown. I've read obituaries and cried as I stared at the photos of these incredible, sparkling little personalities. As I drove home tonight I thought of those families who one week ago today had dinner together, they watched an animated Christmas special, they lit Hanukkah candles. Now, one week later their child, the love of their lives is gone. In one week the world shifted on its axis. There are Christmas stockings to be taken down, siblings to attend to. Life moves forward when it seems as if it should stop. I remember when we lost our baby I looked around at people going about their life and I wanted to shout "DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? MY DAUGHTER IS DEAD!" It's funny how life goes on around you when each breath hurts but it does go on and each day it hurts just a tiny bit less. There may be one good day in a hundred sad days but the good days start to come more often and that is when the happy slips right in, taking you completely by surprise.

In the past few days I have read articles and interviews with people who are angry, sad, political, furious, depressed, pissed off and baffled by what happened. There is so much to be angry about. This is true but when I think about what can be done, the only thing I know is to love. You battle hatred and evil with love, with light.

As my mother-in-law reminded me tonight, life is short, whether you are 65 or 6 years-old, the time you are given is never enough. What are you going to do with the time you have? My mother-in-law said she is going to savor and remember every single moment with her family (scattered around the country) next week. I love this idea. Sometimes it's just so easy to get caught up in the big events like "What are we doing on Christmas Day?" instead of enjoying the little moments like sharing a muffin and coffee together out on the dock just because you can.

That's the thing--DO IT BECAUSE YOU CAN. Because you can wrap your arms around your best friend or your daughter or your partner. This week I am hugging people, I am calling people I know to let them know how amazing they are. I am doing this because I can. And so can you.

What happened last week is awful. It is tragic and unfathomable but even the worst cut begins the process of healing immediately. Biologically white blood cells rush to the wound, flushing out the bad stuff and the healing begins. This tragic incident is the wound. Your friends and your family are the white blood cells. Surround yourself with the people you love and you will heal, you will.

The best way to honor these beautiful lives lost is to love, to heal, to remember the innocence and the love they had in their hearts. Carry this love on.

If you would like to donate in memory of the victims of this event, USA Today has compiled a comprehensive list of relief funds.

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