How the Newtown Tragedy Made me a Better Mom

I think all moms remember where they were when the news broke about what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Though it took place three years ago, the memories are still so vivid.

What happened was a mom’s worst nightmare.  It will always haunt my dreams.

I remember counting the minutes until I would be able to pick up my daughter from school that dark day in December.  She was in second grade at the time, and close in age to the 20 young children who were killed.

I never wanted to hug her more.

I never wanted to let her, or my 2 year old son, go.

That night when I put both of them to bed, it was like no night before. Everything had changed.

My senses were heightened, my fear was raised, my love for my children had never been more clear. They were all that mattered, and I was very lucky to be able to tuck them into bed that night.

I turned on the news once they were sleeping, and it was very hard to watch.  I think I cried the whole night through.

The crying lasted for weeks.  I think my husband thought I was losing it.

Though I was very lucky to not have been directly affected by the tragedy, it caused me so much pain.  I had to find an outlet for this pain.  I had to try to do something to help.

I lived about 5 hours from Sandy Hook, so going there wasn’t an immediate option, plus I knew that they did not want many outsiders visiting.

So I started a Facebook page called “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.”  The only purpose for this page was to say that I was sorry.  I had never had a page before, and I had no idea what I was doing.  I only knew that I had to do SOMETHING.

I didn’t care how many people saw my page, I would have been happy if only one Newtowner saw it & felt a little comfort from it.  I wrote a poem for Newtown, through many tears. I was glad to have something to occupy my time while I worried about my daughter while she was at school.

My page only grew from there and I was able to reach and talk to many people from the town, and even raised some money for them.  I really didn’t know what to say at first other than I’m sorry, but I managed to find words for the past three years.  I wrote many poems, including 26 individual poems for each beautiful Angel taken too soon.

Through the work on my page, and contact with many residents of Newtown, I have become a much better person and a much better mom.

I followed the stories very closely and watched many news reports. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the grace, humanity and love pouring out of the residents of Newtown, including some of the parents of the victims.

They came together and supported each other through one of the worst events in recent history.  People all over the world sent cards, gifts and prayed for all of them.

The many images of love, began to shine a light on the darkness.

I felt my own darkness lift, as I saw the best of humanity come out to help a broken town.

Watching all of “the helpers” these past three years has really affected me in a positive way.  I started to gravitate to these stories more, and it has managed to change me in many different ways.

I now seek out inspirational people who are trying to make this world a better place.  I read their stories, I commiserate with them, I learn from their life lessons. They are my heroes and role models.

Many of the families who have lost loved ones at Newtown have started charities or foundations in order to continue their family members legacies of kindness, service and love.  They are managing to help so many children, people, and animals lead better lives. Though they will always be grieving, they have not let this stop them from helping others.

This has truly humbled me and brought me to my knees a few times.  If they can manage to do this after all they have been through, why can’t all of us?

If they can still find hope and see the good in others, after what they have lost, why can’t we?

Many of these families share pictures and memories with the world of their beautiful loved ones.  They are showing us what extraordinary children/people they were.  They are showing us how they are still making a positive difference in the world.  They are showing us what great parents they are.  They are showing us what true love is.

I have learned to open up and share more because of them.  I have learned to be more charitable and search for ways, big and small, in which I can help those in need.

But most of all, I have learned to appreciate my kids more.  My time with them is not guaranteed.  I must make the most of it.  I must show them how to be kind and compassionate by the way I treat them and others. I must tell them often how much I love them, and how much they mean to me.

I will never forget the 26 Angels of Newtown.  I will never forget the lessons I have learned from a little town in Connecticut that was shattered by pain. A town that is still learning how to heal through hope and kindness.

I will always remember what they have lost, and try to make my time here on Earth count.  I will do what I can to make my family and others happy in the time I have left.

I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and make the tragedy never happen.

But I can’t.

So I will continue to love with all my heart….

 

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

You can find out more about the 26 Angels and their legacies via this link to the family run website:

http://mysandyhookfamily.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Chasing Butterflies

memorial peace sign design no cp

Chasing Butterflies

I’ve been thinking a lot about butterflies these past 31 months. I have written about them, cared for them, wrote poems about them, created many memes of them, and created a pretty butterfly memorial garden at my daughter’s school in honor of the 26 Angels of Newtown.

Ever since Dylan’s mom, Nicole Hockley, referred to him as her “beautiful butterfly, and then said the following: “there’s a saying that if a butterfly flaps his wings in one place it can cause a hurricane halfway around the world. And I said that Dylan and all the others that died that day were now our butterflies and that they were going to drive change across the country, if not the world,” they have become a part of my vernacular, and a part of my heart.

Butterflies are believed to be the embodiment of a person’s soul. They are also seen as a symbol of rebirth and transformation.

And as I sit here remembering the events of July 20th, 2012, my mind is once again brought back to butterflies.

I was once again reading about the 12 victims of the tragedy, and thinking about them & their families, when I came across an article in the Denver Post.

There were two survivors of the Aurora tragedy who have to live with painful reminders of what happened every day. Ashley Moser, who lost her 6 year old daughter, Veronica, as well as her unborn child, is now a quadriplegic.

Another one of the survivors, Caleb Medley, who was an aspiring comic before the tragedy, suffered serious brain damage and an eye injury, and underwent three brain surgeries. He requires a feeding tube, has severely impaired movement, and can no longer speak.

He is continuing to improve through his physical therapy, but he & his wife, Katie, are unsure of what the future holds.

This 2014 article in the Denver Post, briefly describes their journey, and speaks about her recent tattoo:

“A butterfly tattoo dominates the inside of Katie’s right forearm, a piece of body art she had done about a year ago, after the first anniversary of the theater shooting.

Within the butterfly is the Batman logo and the date of the tragedy: July 2012.

When she approached the artist, her idea was just to have him create a small butterfly and leave it at that. But he seemed to grasp what she was looking to say, made a few suggestions and then did the whole thing freehand.

Now, she’s thinking of getting another tattoo, perhaps a replica of Officer Grizzle’s badge, in recognition for his part in saving her husband’s life.

But for now, the butterfly serves as a simple statement — a symbol for all that transpired, including details on which the family remains silent pending the outcome of the criminal case.

“For me,” Katie says, “it means new life, newness out of the Batman symbol of what happened to us. The butterfly is supposed to be new, starting over.”

After reading this article I will also think of Caleb and his wife whenever I see a butterfly. I will hope and pray for his progress, and for his happiness. I will hope that his family thrives.

I will also think of all of the victims of Aurora, Newtown, Columbine, Tucson, and Virginia Tech. I will think of the survivors of these tragedies, their families and friends, and I will send a silent wish to them as they continue their transformation to a life they never imagined, nor did they deserve.

I sit back and think of the many butterflies that I have seen in my life. As a child I gravitated toward them as they enjoyed my mom’s rose bushes. I ran, fluttered, hopped and skipped after them, as I hoped they would lead me toward peaceful dreams.

I’m still chasing after them, and I’m still hoping they will lead us all in the direction of love, happiness, and peace……………………♥♥♥

Kathy
Poetologie
Nuts About My Son

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

*the names on this memorial peace sign represent the victims of the following tragedies:

blue- Aurora
green- Newtown
purple- Virginia Tech
dark purple- Columbine
red- Tucson

may they all forever rest in peace…..

The Voice in the Breeze

newtown rams pasture 2 geese green

You walked through a nightmare,
you have troubled sleep;
you tread very slowly,
and have many secrets to keep.

But you keep on walking,
each step is so brave;
you’ve cried so much, that your pillowcase,
is now torn and frayed.

Each tear is a memory,
each tear falls with hope;
that you will overcome this,
that you will learn how to cope.

With a pain and understanding,
that you shouldn’t have to bear;
but please hear my voice,
and know that I care.

I am the good in the world,
I am the voice in the breeze;
I will follow you, and love you,
and answer your pleas.

If you listen very closely,
you will see this is true;
that kindness surrounds you,
and helps you pull through.

You will learn to hear it,
this voice in the breeze;
you will follow it, and eventually,
answer another’s plea.

But, you will still feel the darkness,
try to draw you in close;
so reach out to others,
and the ones you love most.

For life is a journey,
of a hundred million steps;
some are easy, some take courage,
but just try to do your best.

And realize how special,
and how beautiful you are;
you can do anything,
and you will travel far.

And, as the miles,
start to cover what once was;
you will look back,
and remember all the love.

For love does not fade,
just like the voice in the breeze;
believe in yourself,
and you will learn to be free.

Now try to rest your head,
and please listen to me;
I promise you will be okay,
Love the voice in the breeze….

This poem is written for/dedicated to all of the children of Sandy Hook, CT.  It can also apply to many others facing trauma or adversity.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

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

Six Sisters Had a Dream

apple love meme

My daughter’s last day of school is next Tuesday.  I was just thinking about how nice it will be to attend her little class party, and to give her teacher a gift & to say thank you.

That got me to thinking about all teachers & about the 6 wonderful educators whose lives were cut short in Newtown.

Anne Marie, Victoria, Lauren, Rachel, Mary and Dawn.

I’ve thought a lot about them over the past 2+ years I’ve been running my FB page “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.”

I’ve studied their beautiful faces, I’ve memorized their beautiful names, I’ve learned about their accomplishments and dreams.

What would they be doing/thinking now if they were still here?

Though we can never know for sure, I’m certain they would still be making the world a better place.

They all accomplished so much in their lives.  They taught and influenced so many, including me.

By taking the time to read about them and listen to their families words, I have become a better person.

Teachers/educators are wonderful people.

And these 6 women exemplify what an educator should be.

I wrote the following poem about them.

Though they are not sisters in the biological sense of the word, they will forever be known as sisters of honor, courage and love.

Like most educators, they made a lasting impression on those they taught or helped.

They continue to do so, and they continue to breathe dreams and hope into everyone…………..<3<3<3

Six Sisters Had a Dream

Six sisters had a dream,

to educate the children as a team,

caring, nurturing, encouraging all,

to climb every mountain, to scale every wall.

Six sisters went to school that day,

but didn’t come home, fate took them away,

and though they now exist in a different realm,

we can help fulfill their dreams for them.

Work hard, and never give up on your dreams,

no matter the challenge, or how difficult it seems,

help your neighbor, especially those in need,

be a force for change, and you will succeed.

Support our educators, support our schools,

give them the ability, give them the tools,

to make a difference, like these sisters managed to do,

Dawn, Mary, Victoria, Rachel, Lauren and Anne Marie too.

Six sisters went to school that day,

but didn’t come home, fate took them away,

they will always be in our hearts and minds,

and their dreams and accomplishments will outlast time…..

You can learn more about these 6 amazing women and how their families are continuing their dreams and legacies here:

http://mysandyhookfamily.org/

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

I Am Orange

Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Many people are wearing orange today to spread awareness, & to honor Hadiya Pendleton who would have been celebrating her birthday today, if she was not killed by gun violence at the age of 15.

They are also honoring all who have been lost or affected by gun violence. Hadiya’s friends started wearing orange to honor her & to have the color represent life & wanting to live free of violence.

As I was driving back from dropping my daughter off at school, this poem crept into my head. I looked back at my son, and thought “I Am Orange, he is orange, we are all orange.”

We all want to live free of violence, we all want to follow our dreams and have our children be safe.

Hadiya, the 26 Angels of Newtown, and all of those lost to gun violence are weighing heavily on me today.

I am melancholy….my heart is heavy….and I am orange…..

For Hadiya, the Angels, all those lost to gun violence, and all those doing whatever they can to end it. I honor you, I salute you, & I love you:

I Am Orange

I am orange
I live and I breathe
I dance and I dream
I yearn to be free

I am orange
my heart longs to beat
as I walk along the Mall
or a south side street

I am orange
I survived many things
I’ve climbed up a mountain
and I long for better things

I am orange
I am Martin and Maya
I long for peace
I want all to climb higher

I am orange
my heart beats the same
we are all orange
from wherever we came

We want to end violence
we want to stand tall
we want to fulfill our destiny
we want to march on

Toward a more peaceful existence
where all are treated the same
whatever our hue of orange
whatever our name

Let’s all join together
and walk hand in hand
on the great orange path
where violence is shamed

Where violence is not tolerated
where it is replaced
with love and acceptance
for all who embrace

The warmth of orange
the light of each other’s face
we are all in this together
we are all part of the human race

So let’s work hard to end violence
in whatever way we can
we can begin by teaching our children
to respect life and their fellow man

Life can be beautiful
let’s all open our eyes
and a more peaceful world
will be the real grand prize

For life is not a lottery
left to be played
life is what you make it
so try to make it great

I am orange
and I want you to believe
I’m here, I’m important
I have my whole life in front of me

Help others realize that violence
is not the only way
with help, and with patience
you will see much brighter days

I am orange
I want you to see
violence is not the answer
please don’t let me continue to bleed……….

Kathy ❤orange meme don't let me bleed