The Pain from Violence Continues

The anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School is here. Once again we recall the fright, the disbelief, and the anger at such an act. What we often don’t remember at such a time is the toll it has taken on the people who were the first responders, the people who were spared, the families who lost children. We forget. We think of time healing all wounds and in our rushed society we think it is done at quick speed.

Instead there is still pain and nightmares and asking why. There is the depression and the post traumatic stress. And there is living in a world that can’t quite comprehend what it is like to experience something like this.

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I forced myself to read the official transcript of the investigation. It was a difficult thing to do, picturing the intensity of the feelings and the deep sorrow surrounding the story. But it was good that I did. I won’t be able to say again to anyone, “just do something and get over it” or “it’s time to move on” or “we all have our cross to bear” and worst of all, telling someone that “our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

If we feel badly about the shootings one year later, we need to do something. We have to lobby for more funds for mental health. We have to educate people about the signs to look for and what not to do because we want to feel better. Adam Lanza’s mother complained and expressed concern about her son’s behavior to several people but still wrote a check to him for Christmas for a new gun, perhaps out of guilt.  And we have to learn how to express our sorrow to people who we know have experienced great pain. We need to know how to support them through the depression and the post traumatic stress that follows such incidents.

And I use the plural – incidents. Sandy Hook isn’t the only incident of gun violence. There have been – and if nothing is done there will be many more – numerous instances similar whether in a crowded movie theater or cafeteria or Navy yard or post office. Each of these instances have left hurt and deeply wounded people, people who are struggling now to come to terms with all that has happened to them. And some, with brain illness a real possibility, might take their own lives or the lives of others, seeing that as the only way to deal with the pain.

Care for one another carefully

Care for one another carefully

Resolve this Christmas to do something about the violence in our country, whether that is in how you treat each other during this upcoming holiday season or whether it is to actively get involved in changing the path of violence in this country. And this is the only time I will say, “it’s time to move on” because our country is full of  wounded mentally, emotionally or physically hurting people and it is time to move on to a more violence free society where we care for one another very carefully indeed.

– Bernadette

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