For 72 hours, there's been a number of attempts to really capture what happened in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. Tragic, terrible, horrific. It's all of these things. It's all of these things combined. But as the days and hours have passed and our lens of perspective has widened, clarity has shown us that sometimes there just aren't words. The level of horror that was thrust into our lives Friday morning grabbed us all, shook us, shook us again and again,and it will be a while before it stops.
There's something about an elementary school that makes us all nostalgic. Kids laughing in the hallways, the pandemonium of a cafeteria with one hundred 6-9 year olds caffeinated with Christmas season jitters. The lines of cars outside when the bell rings, parents waiting to pick up their children, taking them to piano lessons, soccer practice. That was all destroyed Friday. The nostalgic images we all know were stolen and then replaced in our minds with the haunting details that played out in reality for parents and children in Newtown. And for that, we're all changed. We're all different now. Wrapped up in our own lives, as the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle peaks, the senseless murders of 26 people, 20 of them children, brought us to a hard, jolting stop. The green and yellow lights of our lives changed instantly to red with no warning. And now we all stand here, not really sure how to proceed. Or if it's ok to proceed.
The holiday season is the foundation with which family memories are built. And now the contrast of such shock and horror will forever change this time of year for an entire town, and people across the country. As we all find our own method of coping, there's many that never will. Parents are left with Christmas gifts that will never be opened, children who won't sleep for months or years. And perhaps one of the worst ripple effects, there will likely be children who wont step inside a school ever again. The last icon left of youth and innocence-an elementary school-has been stolen. That's not tragic, it's unthinkable. Until now.