There were no words. There were no words for a full day and then there were no words until last evening, when I reached for and put on one of my special treasures; a gift from my daughter. It is a silver pendant of a mother wrapping her arms around the child she stands behind. I wore it constantly for years and then, as I was dealing with taking care of my mother, I needed other "mojo" in the form of prayer charged turquoise and other semi-precious stones, to help me to protect myself from so much scary Energy.
It feels as though I have been through mine fields, these past 7 years and now I am in a safe-zone on this life's journey.
I kept seeing the word Newtown pop up on Twitter or Facebook, that morning, but did not let in any more than that it was the name of my road. We hooked the dogs up for their walk out to go "Play", in their new huge dog run (ironically built to protect my race-like-the-wind adopted English Shepherd, Trixie, from being shot by my uphill, chicken-owning-neighbor, Bill.) and then heading "To Work" in the little house, across the driveway. We were all going about our routine chores, when a call came in from Erik, who lives in Stratford, Connecticut, asking if we had heard about what happened in Newtown. I heard Rod tell him that we heard something about a shooting but that was about it. After he dropped the bombshell that there were 27 killed, we went into shock mode and turned on Rod's little TV by the skein winding machine.
We heard the early news and were just shaking our heads until we heard the toll of little lives. I had to shut it out, at that point, to keep moving. It was not Real and to keep from listening to the news, I turned up the music above the dye surface and kept mixing samples and attending to orders.
Nothing hit home until 3 pm, when I locked up the workshop door and headed over to the house, to sit in this chair and turn on CNN. I finally let it in and when I did, I had to open a bottle of wine, as I did on Election Night. The delicious Sangiovese helped to soften the knife sharp words that I was hearing; had to hear. It was the unthinkable and the unspeakable and I listened to every word, taking them in like a bitter herb. 20 little children and 6 women. The 20 year old Boy.
We left Connecticut the week before Sandy hit and in the memory on my phone is a photo that I took of a sign for Newtown Road, as we were driving toward Rhinebeck. I got a laugh and posted it on Facebook, because this was just like Home, Newtown Road, on the other side of the Country. On our way back from New York, we took a " scenic route" back toward Erik & Vicki's house on the Stratford/Trumbull line, winding our way through beautiful little tree studded villages, getting a feel for the peacefulness and charm of the places where Manhattan Commuters built their lives with their beautiful families; places where children could Go Play Outside In The Woods. I could see why people settled in these places, whether as newcomers or as folk with centuries of ancestors in the graveyard. (I have ancestors in these graveyards.)
Yesterday, as I was spinning in my Woman Cave, I saw the vigil being held for the heroic young teacher, Vicki Soto, and realized another connection; this vigil was being held at the Stratford High School, not far from where our kids live. Connection after connection in waves of solidarity, much stronger than just imagining the loss of children the age of my precious grandson.
We made a date to take Lauren, Brian and Syd (Jakey was with his Dad) "up the hill", to a very family friendly sushi restaurant that sits between a big statue of Paul Bunyun and a palm reader shop, in the outskirts of Camino. I searched for my mother and child necklace as a talisman, before piling on layers of clothing against the cold night air. We needed to go somewhere, together, where we could laugh and touch base with people from our community, letting Syd charm everyone with her sweet ways. It was cathartic and we finally spoke about what happened. It was not easy but we needed to acknowledge that the children killed were The Schnickle's age. We had to say it out loud and tell each other how we grieved for those children and our shared sorrow for the parents and children of the Lost, realizing that this could happen anywhere, these days.
As my Brian, my wonderful son-in-law said, (he grew up hunting) we need to ban these assault rifles. We do. They are not made for hunting game, they are made for hunting human beings and this cannot stand.
Every time that this happens, we cry out to the politicians, to do something to stop the madness and once in awhile, as with the massacre in a San Francisco high rise or after the wounding of President Reagan, we pass certain gun restrictions, hoping that this will slow the ability of troubled people from having access to the weaponry that can wipe out so many lives. We applaud the bravery of the lawmakers and then the army of the gun lobby lawyers swoop in, threaten or cajole the lawmakers and then the safeguards seem to disappear.
Connecticut, like California, has strict gun laws, when it comes to purchasing. This boy's mother had a small arsenal in her home and obviously, when we come to understand the extent to which this Boy was troubled, she failed herself and him and all of her community (and the world) by not safeguarding that weaponry. She lost her life and she bears the heavy weight of responsibility for having this arsenal in a home, where a troubled young man had access to the tools of this massacre. My son-in-law grew up with guns and he agrees with me.
I had a family member who was going through a psychotic break, a number of years ago, and I got a call from a police officer, telling me that he had taken out, what he called, "an arsenal", from this person's apartment. This family member was a perceived danger to himself and others, at that moment and I thanked the officer for removing the weapons from the scene. We never spoke of it again.
I touch the little sculpted pendant and think of the children. I touch it and think of our country and what it has become. Do we really believe that we should "arm the teachers"? Is this what we have become, going back to the days as our ancestors robbed their way across this continent? I am, once again, shocked and embarrassed for our country, for in the eyes of friends that I have in the rest of the world, we are living in a barbaric society. My friend from New Zealand wrote to me, proclaiming that he would never want to live in a country where he would fear going to a mall or movie or to send children to school. There is something deeply flawed, in our society. Don't get me wrong, I am a deeply patriotic American, but I hate guns, which make it too easy for someone to escalate anger to murder.
I touch the pendant and send up a prayer for the families.