When Sorry is not Enough: An Open Letter to All Parents of Children Lost to Gun Violence

To All Parents Who Have Lost Children to Gun Violence:

I will no longer say I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, because sorry is not enough.  Sorry won’t make you feel any better. Sorry won’t dry your tears.  Sorry won’t bring back your beautiful children.

I was sorry on 12/14/12, the day of the Newtown tragedy.  I have been sorry every since.  But not much has changed, in fact the incidents of mass shootings are getting more frequent.

I was so sorry that I started a facebook page called Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown on 12/19/12.  I have been saying sorry to those in Newtown ever since.  And though I know that many of the residents of Newtown follow my page and appreciate what I’m trying to do, it just isn’t enough.

avatar26new

Sorry is just a way of trying to make myself feel better.  It is a kind thing to say I guess, but it doesn’t change anything.

It doesn’t change what happened in San Bernardino, it doesn’t change what happened in Roseburg, Aurora, Virginia Tech, or what happens every single day in our country.

It doesn’t change what just happened in Orlando. Forty-nine innocent people slaughtered once again. The worst mass shooting in US history. Innocent victims of our cowardice, inaction and apathy.

I AM sorry that we have failed you.  As a country, as a people, as human beings.

We refuse to see your horrible tragedies for what they are.  An inexcusable, preventable injustice.  A horrible loss that NONE of us would like to face.

You are living a parents worst nightmare.  You have joined a club NONE of us want to be in.  You shouldn’t have to stand alone.

While many of us get over the horror of these tragedies and move on with our lives, you can never truly move on.

You must deal with the loss of your loved ones on a daily basis.  You are serving a sentence, and you never committed a crime.

I can no longer carelessly leave the TV on while my young children are home, for fear they will hear of the next school shooting or mass shooting.

I can no longer feel content after I drop them off at school, the movies, or the mall.

For your losses are ALWAYS at the back of my mind.

I no longer care about there being two sides to the gun issue.

We should ALL be on the side of humanity.

We should focus on there being one side only- the side of less death from gun violence.

I care about you and the pain you are going through.

I don’t want to see another parent go through that pain.

I want to see the killing stop.

I want to see the streets filled with laughing children, not blood.

And every single one of us should want the same thing.

And every single one of us should do whatever it takes to protect the children, and all of us, from the next shooting.

Whatever it takes.

The time is now to stop the division, and to put the lives of others first.

After all, we are all human.

ALL of us care about our children.

So I will not say sorry for the thousandth time.

I will say I wish you ANY peace you can eventually find.

I will say if there is ANYTHING I can do to help you, I will.

I will say that I wish that all of us will now have the courage and determination to put an end to this misery.

For sorry is just not enough…..

Love Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

26 seeds garden me

I Want to Live: The Shadows of Gun Violence

dad & us at police camp

On a cold night in February, 1983, my life changed forever.

While I was watching Crystal & Alexis duke it out on Dynasty, I heard a knock on the door.

We weren’t expecting anyone, so I felt a sensation of fear.  That sensation grew as I saw my father’s face in the door window, surrounded by the dark shadow of night.

My parents were going through a nasty divorce at the time, and my father was mentally ill, angry, lonely, and had nothing to lose.

I was happy when he moved out.

I was happy when his gun went with him.

His gun was issued to him by the NYC Police Department.  It went with him everywhere.  It threatened me.  It tormented me.

And now on this dreadful night, I knew that it may be the last thing I saw.

I opened the door due to some kind of foolish daughterly duty, and he place the gun upon my temple.

There were no hugs and kisses.  He simply said “do you want to die first?”

These words have echoed in my head for decades.  These words will forever haunt my dreams.

Upon hearing them, I panicked.  My reaction was to run out of the room and try to hide.  I heard my father drunkenly shouting at everyone, including my aunt, sisters and mother.

I did not know what to do.  I was 13 years old and didn’t have any answers.

So I ran.

And I haven’t stopped running since.

I ran barefoot through the snow to my neighbors house.  My shadow appeared in the moonlight upon the snow.  “Do you want any socks?” they said as they stared at my bare, wet feet.

I mumbled something to them like “my dad’s there, he has his gun.”

My neighbor was also a cop, so he walked to our house with his gun.  His wife called the cops.  The good guys.

Why wasn’t my dad one of those good guys?  I thought to myself.

Though I did not hear any gunshots, I had no idea if my family was alive or dead.  I was frozen and out of it.  I felt ashamed of myself for running and abandoning them.  I still do.

Though my family & I were lucky enough to survive, the shadows of gun violence will always remain.

They are a dark presence in my life, and even though my father passed away almost 10 years ago, his words still haunt me.

Being a gun violence survivor in any capacity, affects you for the rest of your life.

It may cause fear, anxiety, shame, PTSD, etc.  It casts a shadow upon many of the things you do.

And though counseling and/or time may help, you are never truly free.

You are its prisoner, and the constant reminders of the gun violence plaguing our nation continually tighten its grasp.

You are the child at Sandy Hook.

You are the movie patron in Aurora.

You are a member of the bible group in Charleston.

You are the college student in Roseburg.

You are at the holiday party in San Bernardino.

You are a member of a growing number of gun violence survivors.

You are a part of the human race.

You know all too well that a gun is not love.

A gun is taking away many of those we love.

It is an instrument of death, especially in the wrong hands.

It must not be held up above humanity.

It must be regulated to protect humanity.

It does not love.

It does not breathe.

It is my foe.

My dad used to call me foe, as a joke from fe fi fo fum.

“Do you want to die first?”

No Daddy…………………..I want to live…………………………

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Hate Showed Up Late – The Charleston Unity Walk

Charleston unity walk sc bridge hate won't win post and courier

I have been very sad since the events that occurred in Charleston, SC.

Sad for the victims and their families, sad for the Charleston community, and sad for our nation.

I’ve been wondering what kind of person could do such a thing.

What kind of world are my children growing up in?

I haven’t been watching the news much since, or reading my news feeds, I couldn’t handle all the pain and sadness.

But something told me to take a look last night.

And, boy I’m glad I did.

I felt hopeful and uplifted for the first time since the tragedy. Glorious images of the Unity Walk across the Ravenel Bridge, which spans from Mt. Pleasant (where I used to live,) to downtown Charleston, were everywhere.

Images of people unified in hope, peace and love.

People who came together to pay respects to the victims with a 9 minute moment of silence, and to join hands in peace.

These people will not be defeated.

These people will rise above the hate.

We should all follow these people toward a brighter future for all Americans.

And let love change the current.

And let hate show up late.

Hate Showed Up Late Meme

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Hate Showed Up Late

heart ocean foam

I was walking on a beach,

but hate showed up late;

it tried to get my attention,

but I wouldn’t participate.

It tapped me, it poked me,

it sharpened its claws;

but I chose to ignore it,

though it was seeking applause.

Applause I wouldn’t give it,

for I do not agree;

that I should treat poorly,

those who are different from me.

And though I am surrounded,

by some images of hate;

something evil’s gone fishing,

but I won’t take the bait.

I will seek out kind fish,

in our great human pond;

and when sharks surround me,

I will happily swim on.

To a glorious ocean,

where hate’s always late;

let’s all change the current,

and let love set us straight.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown, Nuts About My Son)

The Flame

I wrote this poem awhile ago, inspired by Newtown.  Today I dedicate it to the victims of the Charleston tragedy.

Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Tywanza Sanders
Cynthia Hurd
Sharonda Singleton
Rev. Daniel Simmons
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
Susan Jackson
Ethel Lance
Myra Thompson

We will remember your names…..

candle heart hands

The Flame

When the candles stop burning,
will you remember my name?
Will you honor my shortened life,
will you carry on the flame?

The heat of injustice,
can ignite a spark;
though the candles will stop burning,
I’ve already left my mark.

On this world that is fleeting,
with short news cycles, it’s true;
when the candles stop burning,
I’ll still be remembered, will you?

Do what you can,
to bring peace and love to mankind;
so when the candles stop burning,
you will not be left behind.

So try to make a difference,
as time waxes and wanes;
leave this world better off,
since the time that you came.

Live life with much purpose,
through all the twists and turns;
so when your candle stops burning,
another will continue to burn…

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown)

#CharlestonShooting

#Charleston

#PrayforCharleston

THIS TIME: Fourteen Things I Can Do To Make My Country Better

Rainbow Row love meme

I rarely write such political messages, but sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode & I have to say something.

Today is one of those days. So if you don’t want to hear it, just scroll on, that is always a choice.

When Newtown happened, I was devastated. I cried for months. I learned about each Angel. I learned about each family. I’m still learning. I’m still paying tribute on my facebook page “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.”

I also changed as a person. I became less apathetic, and more sympathetic. I took more time to enjoy my family, and treasure the moments we shared. I began to use my time more wisely on the internet.

And I began to pay more attention to the injustice & tragedies plaguing our nation.

I began to pay attention to how many people are losing their lives to violence by any means.

I am growing tired of hearing about people dying from violence on the news.

I am trying to remember their faces. I am trying to remember their names.

And once you take the time to do that, TO REALLY DO THAT, to look into each face, each life lost, and see or imagine each family’s grief……you will begin to change too.

You will begin to see that loss is loss. You will begin to feel sadness for all of them. You will begin to become angry at the injustice of it all. You will begin to want to do something about it. ANYTHING.

You will hear many people tell you, there is nothing one person can do, or nothing can be done, or the system is broken.

They will tell you we will never agree on many issues, so why even bother.

THAT IS BULLSH*T!

When you have your head filled with all of these horrific images, with all of the faces of those killed tragically, YOU WILL HAVE YOUR REASON TO BOTHER.

You will begin to hear their voices, the whispering of Angels, saying please do something.

You will begin to see that there is something you can do.

You will begin to see that one person has a lot of power when passion leads them.

You will begin to see that there are a lot of people who feel this way.

You will begin to see that if all of these people DID SOMETHING, it will make a difference.

Here are some things you can do, if you want to do something. You will not agree with all of them. But pick one thing you agree with and do it:

1. Pay attention to some of these tragedies. Learn about the victims. Learn if there is any way you can help their families or loved ones.

2. Pay attention to your family and those around you. Is there anyone who needs your attention, or help. Whether it’s mental or financial, help them or get them help.

3. If you see or hear hate speech against anyone or any particular group, speak up or leave the room. If all of us do this, it will make a difference. Hate speech can lead to much darker things.

4. If you see or hear anyone threatening violence, tell someone or report it to the authorities.

5. If you are a gun owner, become educated about responsible ownership & storage. Teach your friends.

6. If you are a member of a particular gun organization, demand that the leadership do something to help prevent these tragedies. Demand that the leadership stops blaming these innocent victims for these tragedies.

7. Learn the names, Twitter accts, emails & phone numbers of your representatives. Contact them and demand change. They really do read the correspondence & reply.

9. Support a gun sense organization.

8. Support mental health initiatives.

9. Vote in every election.

10. Support the many initiatives which are promoting love, compassion and kindness.

11. Teach your children to love and be accepting of others. Teach them that they are important & can make a difference.

12. Love your neighbor, and treat them how you would like to be treated.

13. Never stop believing that YOU can make a difference.

14. Never stop trying.

I hope that we will all actually do something THIS TIME.

Thank you to all of you who already have, or who will decide to.

Let’s join together to grieve as a nation, and to help change our nation for the better……….

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown)