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Let Us Grieve The Connecticut School Shooting

Artwork by Alexis Hickox

As a nation we are awaiting someone to explain the reasons behind the Connecticut school shooting that happened yesterday.  We are all stunned by the tragedy and unable to grasp it. The media is filled with reports of the police “combing through” the “crime scene” and gathering “evidence.”  My family and I, as well as I’m sure most of the nation, are glued to our news resources, waiting for an explanation.

Let’s understand that the explanation will not come.  There will be no “Aha!” moment where we say “oh, that makes perfect sense! I would have done the same if I were him!” Instead, let’s accept that humans sometimes do things that are beyond understanding.  Let us instead look into our hearts, and process what’s going on in there.  Here I will give, with brutal honesty, my own survey of my feelings and thoughts.

My first thoughts went to the parents and families.  My mind kept going to a place where I pictured waiting for my child to be handed to me safe and whole.  I felt the absolute horror of those endless moments of waiting.  I thought about the families that embraced their children with relief and tears combined, and one by one, the families went home.  All except for 20 families, as they remained waiting.  Feeling inexplicable fear and hope beyond hope.  I can only imagine what they went through as the hours passed and they waited, and the moment of realization that there won’t ever be a reunion for them. I grieve for the families deeply.  My heart is heavy, and I know their life journeys will never be the same.  Please, send them your prayers, your spiritual energy, your sympathies, whatever you find fit to send.  Send your love to the children; those who survived, and those who are no longer with us. Send your love to the school staff that risked their lives to take care of the children. Allow your tears to flow and feel your grief.  This is a tragedy at a personal level for anyone who has ever felt love.

One of my most prominent feelings from the first moments until now has been anger.  I’m aware of my tendency to want to blame someone; to feel justice.  I admit that there is a place in my heart where I’m glad “that monster,” Adam Lanza, is dead.  There is another part of my heart where I wish he were alive so we could get answers, and then bring him to “justice,” whatever that means.  What “justice” could bring back the dead and restore the families back to how they felt before?  I’m also angry at The System that allowed this to happen, although I admit I have no solutions to how The System could have foreseen and prevented a completely random act of utter madness and chaos. I also admit that although I believe in approaching all humans with compassion in my heart, I have yet to find any compassion for Adam Lanza, although I do feel it for his family.

In my heart I find fear at the understanding of how fragile and vulnerable our human lives are.  I find fear and even horror at the prospect of this happening to someone I love. I find immense grief that I know will remain there for very long.  Grief for the lost innocent children and adults.  Grief for the families that are now dealing with their loss.  Grief for the loss of innocence in the surviving children.  Grief for a school and a community that will never feel the same.  Grief for the children who will go back to school and will miss their classmates, staff members, and principal.  There are many tears left to be shed.  Allow them to shed as they come.  As uncomfortable as grief is, allow yourself to feel it openly and share it with your loves ones.  Bottled up feelings always come back to haunt us.

The feelings that are emerging in my heart as the initial shock has passed are those of gratitude and awe.  Gratitude for every moment we are alive on this earth, and awe for the miracle that is life, the miracle that is every single human being.  I even feel gratitude for the families who had the pleasure and the gift of knowing and living with their loved ones, even if they were torn apart from each other prematurely and in such a brutal way.  I feel gratitude for my loved ones and for every moment that I get to spend with them.  Never forget to let your loved ones know you appreciate them.  Always part with them saying words that would have been your last words if you were never to see them again.  Don’t ever take Time for granted, and never put off reconciliations and apologies.  The present moment may be your only opportunity.

Spend today feeling; just feeling.  Feel your anger, your rage, your fear, your horror, your grief, your gratitude, and most of all, your love.  Send your love to those who need it most.

May we all find a light in this darkest of moments.

Sayeh Beheshti, M.D.