Thursday, December 20, 2012

12.14.12 - i will remember

I've debated whether I should write a blog about the tragedy that occurred last week because how I've been feeling is so emotionally personal, but I decided I should. Sometimes it helps just to put your thoughts down into words.

On Friday morning I was getting ready to walk the dog and I saw a posting on a message board that there was a report of a possible school shooting. Honestly, I didn't think that much about it, hoped it was nothing, and went on my way. But after I had gotten back and taken a shower, I turned on the news and that's when I found out about the horrible event that had happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I felt my heart sink.

I was pretty much glued to TV news reports and online news sources Friday night and most of Saturday. I think I've cried through every story I read and every video I've seen. I know there have been other school shootings, and not just in schools. In fact just a few days before this horrible day, two people were killed at the Clackamas Town Center, a mall near Portland that I've been to numerous times. But for whatever reasons, this one grabbed my heart unlike any of the others. Perhaps it's because I just spent a year teaching kindergarten and the initial reports were that he opened fire in kindergarten classrooms, or because more than once this week I've imagined locking myself and my kids from last year in the bathroom and what that would be like - being so scared, but needing to stay so positive for the kids. Perhaps it was remembering the practice lock-down drills when I taught at Highland West. I remember thinking then that with a whole wall of windows I was glad I was on the second floor. Maybe it was the heartbreaking images that kept being played over and over - the grieving parents, the sister of Ms. Soto on her phone, the children being led out of the building lined up with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. It could be just the sheer magnitude of all those precious lives being taken. I don't really know.

What I do know is that I will remember.
  • I will remember the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who ran out of a meeting when she heard shots being fired to confront him and did not return.
  • I will remember the school pychologist Mary Sherlach who also left the meeting and did not return.
  • I will remember the Diane Sawyer interview with teacher Kaitlin Roig who got her children into the tiny bathroom, locked the door, and held their precious faces all the while thinking they would be the next to die. And how even after the police slid their badges under the door she still wouldn't unlock it. That interview got me at my very core.
  • I will remember the librarian who took the class she had at that time to a storage closet and gave them crayons and paper to color pictures.
  • I will remember the kindergarten teacher who took her class to the safe spot and somehow was able to maintain enough composure to read a book while the shots were being fired.
  • I will remember the school nurse Sally Cox who hid in the supply closet for four hours.
  • I will remember the full time substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau who, because she was a sub, didn't have keys to lock the classroom door from the inside. She and all but one of the children in her class were killed. One later news report  I saw showed pictures of her car, ridden with bullet holes that had gone through school walls and windows to the parking lot.
  • I will remember first grade teacher, Victoria Soto, who shielded her students and was killed.
  • I will remember behavioral therapist, Rachel D'Avino, whose boyfriend was going to propose to her on Christmas Eve.
  • I will remember special ed teacher, Anne Marie Murphy, who was found holding one of the little boys who also died.
  • I will remember the little boy who said a teacher courageously pulled him into her classroom when bullets were whizzing by him in the hallway.
  • I will remember the unspeakable horror the first responders must've seen when they arrived.
  • I will remember Sandy Hook School neighbor Gene Rosen who took the six children he found crying in his front yard in his home and gave them juice and stuffed animals.
  • I will remember reading the obituaries of each one of the 26 who died in the school that day and how I had to read just a few at a time and then stop because it was just too much.
  • There is so much I will remember, but most of all I will remember
Charlotte Bacon
Daniel Barden
Olivia Engel
Josephine Gay
Ana M. Marquez-Greene
Dylan Hockley
Madeleine F. Hsu
Catherine V. Hubbard
Chase Kowalski
Jesse Lewis
James Mattioli
Grace McDonnell
Emilie Parker

Jack Pinto
Noah Pozner
Caroline Previdi
Jessica Rekos
Avielle Richman
Benjamin Wheeler
Allison N. Wyatt
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10


Luci Smith said...

I came home from work for lunch that day and read about it. It was so hard to go back to school knowing the students have not heard about what was happening. I cried reading your post and I am sure you cried writing it. Thank you for being a teacher. You made a difference in Emma and she will forever remember you as her 2nd grade teacher. Love you.

Kellie said...

Such a shocking event and one that will stay with me for a long time... I saw my students in a different light after that day....