Helpless

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December 19, 2012 by Meg.Lacy

At one point I had twenty-two kindergarteners in my care. I picked them up in line every morning and sent them home every afternoon. I spent my days hearing the stories they were so excited to tell, giving hugs and offering words of encouragement when things were hard. I loved and understood every one of them.

Since Sandy Hook I haven’t slept. I keep thinking: what if it had been my classroom? What if I had a man walk through the red door that we left propped open? Would I have been able to see the gun from where I sat in front of the rainbow carpet? I wonder if any of my rambunctious boys would have thought his gun was “cool” before they realized it was intended for them. Would they have screamed and tried to hide? I know they wouldn’t have, if it had been us. They would have looked to me. And I would have been helpless to save them. I would have had to watch the terror grow on their small faces. Terror that stemmed from confusion rather than fear of death. They would have been too innocent to think that far ahead.

The idea of them being picked off one by one in front of their friends leaves me gasping for air in the dark. Shot in the face the news says. He shot them in the face. How could you do something like that? What type of sickness is that? Its not humanity. That man didn’t have humanity in him.

I hate the idea that I would have been helpless to defend them. I hate it so much it paralyzes me.

The oppression of helplessness is what keeps me awake; this shattering grief for children I never knew simply because they could so easily have been the children I love. I know we are supposed to talk about healing and hope but I can’t. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow the faces of my students will stop haunting me and the possibilities will stop running through my mind. As for this sleepless night, I will dream terrible dreams. Dreams that leave me feeling grief stricken and helpless.

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