Saturday, December 29, 2012

Noah Pozner: letting go of memorials, holding on to memories

Newtown is taking down the memorials. Although more than two weeks have elapsed, people are still coming from all over bringing teddy bears, flowers, Christmas ornaments and other testimonies of their sorrow and solidarity and the town has decided that time has come to let go. Weather is a big factor and then there are traffic and road safety issues. Yesterday they closed off the roads near the school as well in the center of Sandy Hook proper. For one hour only the victims' families were allowed in. We were encouraged to take whatever we liked. Once the families were done, everything that was compostable (flowers, Christmas trees, wreaths, etc.) would be composted, everything else gathered and kept in storage. All would later go into building a permanent memorial. There are rumors that the school might be torn down and a park put in in its place.
The girls picked the green chair. They'll keep it in their room and I know they will always see Noah when they look at it, although truth be told, he was more often out of his chair than sitting quietly in it. As his teacher put it at the last parent-teacher conference, Noah always came up with good excuses to get up and move. Looking back, I am glad he moved as much as he could when he could...
Sophia picked a humongous and colorful stuffed fish that she said Noah would have loved and Arielle chose Iron Man for the very same reason. She also picked a very tiny pink bear that she hugged close to her chest. Both girls were intent on missing nothing that had their brother's name on it.
I am glad they are taking down the memorials. There is nothing sadder than teddy bears and balloons where twenty children and six teachers should have been, nothing more heart-breaking than the name of a lost child fluttering in the wind on a forlorn ornament, nothing more poignant than two little girls taking home an empty chair. So yes, let them take the memorials away.
A meeting is being organized this morning for the victims' families. We are all going. My daughter says she needs to meet other mothers. There will be kids. Grandparents. Everybody handles grief differently. We will draw strength from each other. After the meeting we are invited to a dear friend's house for a "comfy day" where nothing will be expected from us but to sit back and relax. Slippers welcome! It'll be the first laid back day since the tragedy and I am looking forward to it.
Meanwhile little Noah has been weaving around us a circle of love such as we have never seen or believed possible. Our sons flew back home with their families but we are staying with our daughter and her kids for as long as necessary. Since her tiny house couldn't possibly accomodate us the seven of us, we needed a place to live. Yesterday perfect strangers offered us their home. They are grandparents who spend their winters in Florida near one set of grandchildren and their summers in Connecticut near another of their kids' family. They understand the need. In a heartbeat they had the utilities reconnected and the Internet back on and here we are, staying for at least a month in the house of people we have never met. They called their neighbors who came to say hello, bringing extra towels, blankets and pillows and asking us to please tell them what else they could do for us. People are bringing food, the FBI is calling or writing to see how we are doing, the police sent someone to sand our daughter's steep driveway that had iced over. A policewoman came to the house yesterday with two full bins of letters and packages which had been held at the triage center for security reasons. She said there are many more to come that have not yet been sorted. It takes a while to go through them (a task I have taken on at her request as the police prefers that parents do not open any mail themselves) but I know they will bring comfort to Veronique when she is strong enough to sit down and read them.
In another extraordinary show of love and support, my daughter's colleagues (she is an oncology nurse) have donated their vacation days so that she can stay home as long as she needs to and only come back to work when she feels able to completely focus on her patients and their well-being. In other words, they are holding her job open for her. She loves it with a passion and would have been devastated to lose it. Her patients have sent cards and small presents: Veronique spends so much time with them that they know all about her family and her kids. They grieve for Noah too.
As for me I still spend most of the nights tossing and turning as I know my daughter does: I am wondering how to hold on to fleeting images of Noah I can still see with my mind's eyes. It saddens me to think they might one day fade and disappear. He had an expressive face and could turn serious and attentive in an instant when he sensed a story coming. I loved telling him about his mom's and his uncles' childhoods or recalling for him the feats of long-ago pets: how one of our golden retrievers had been obsessed by frisbees and thought that all frisbees in the world belonged to her by right:  she would jump up and catch any frisbee that came her way in a park and refuse to give it back; how my grand-parents who lived in a small French village had taught their German shepherd to go to the butcher for them carrying a little basket in her mouth: there were a purse and a note in the basket and the butcher always wrapped a bone for the dog as a reward; how our first dog, a cocker spaniel, had been sick after eating a full tin of brownies, etc. I am glad he has all these stories with him now, keeping him interested and connected. I am glad too that, little rascal that he was, he looked for and found the Christmas present we had sent him from Seattle back in November. He opened it and played with it. His mom wasn't going to tell me but now of course she did. I am happy Noah was who he was and lived his short life to the fullest. But how I wish he had stayed home with a cold to school on that fateful day...


  1. Struggling with what to say here, but as a blogger I know how much a comment can mean. I haven't met you, although I was at Noah's service. Hard to know how much to say so as not to insert myself. But, my heart and prayers are with all of you as you grieve this great loss. Thank you for such a touching and heartfelt post. I am so touched by the offer of the fellow grandparents' home. A cozy home for you to take respite in. Enjoy your laid back day today.

  2. We want to know about Lenny Pozner (Noah's father) also, no news about him yet.

    1. Lenny and my daughter are estranged and even though they/we are in touch daily because of the girls, I don't feel I have the right to speak of, about or for him. He has access to this blog and I know he reads it from time to time. He has a standing invitation to post on it about Noah. He has chosen to grieve privately and if that is what he wants, he has every right to his silence. My heart goes out to him too.

  3. Your stories of him make me smile but also cry. He was such an amazing little guy and will always and forever be that way. I wish I could hug his mother, you, sisters, brother, father,and Noah. However, I can't so may my prayers for all of you reach you all. Thank you for your words; Noah's mama said, "he mattered, they all mattered" and yes, without a shadow of a doubt they did and continue to matter.

  4. Vi siamo vicino col cuore dalla lontana Italia... Noah è fantastico <3

  5. I posted a note a few days ago, but I just want to say again, thank you. Thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful pictures and stories of Noah, and to let us know how you all are doing. I care for Noah and all of you so very much and pray for you all everday! I am so glad to hear that you are helping with the care packages. My family and I sent a very special package (from Mason, OH) and I hope that you will get it soon, it would mean so much to me! I included all of my contact information in there. Althgouh we have never met, I feel like we are somehow friends to you and your family and want to help you now and all the days of our lives. We love you and support you!! (Erin Gill, Mason, OH)

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your stories and memories of your precious grandson. I have been reading your posts over the last several days and they have brought smiles along with the tears. I cannot begin to imagine the pain you, your daughter and the rest of your family are going through. I am so, so sorry. My family's Hanukkah party happened to take place the day after this horrific event. As I sat watching my young cousins, 5 boys ranging in age from 5 to 6 months, running around, playing with the dreidels, and generally getting into mischief, I couldn't help feeling that your Noah would have fit right in. Whenever I light the Hanukkah candles from now on, I will think of your sweet, precious Noah. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

  7. It brought a smile on my face, when I read, he had found your Christmas present and played with it.
    I am really glad he did that.
    I also wish he had stayed at home on that day, or at least If only he had been in a class together with Arielle, he would still be alive. How are Arielle and Sophie dealing with the loss of their brother? Do they continue looking after signs from him?

    I also think it is a good idea to torn down the school, and put a park on its place
    (quiet place filled with birds and flowers).

    And thank you for another picture of him, he was a gorgeous little man <3 <3 <3
    My heart and prayers are still with you and your family.

  8. Thank you Farine for posting these stories about Noah and your wonderul family. I pray for all the families and children but Noah has stolen my heart. We have never met but I feel like I am some how connected to all of you. Your stories make me smile and cry at the same time. He was such an extraordinary child. I hope it comforts you and your family in knowing that Noah has touched so many lives. His short life was so full of love and laughter and you can see that through all of the pictures. He really did have a twinkle in his eyes and that twinkle has spread through all of our hearts. I pray that you take comfort in knowing that God is with Noah and his friends looking down upon you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your family with us. (Mary Dafis, Bala Cynwyd, PA)

  9. MC - Thank you again for another touching post. Your daughter is so lucky to have such a wonderful mom to be there in such a time of need. I hope that you are all able to draw strength from each other and from Noah's love.

    I was so happy to hear that Noah found his Christmas presents early and was able to enjoy them. Reading that made my heart smile. I hope you have a peaceful "comfy day" and are able to relax and be taken care of for a day. You and your family deserve that. Today, my children and I are going to make paper snowflakes to send to Sandy Hook Elementary School to be hung in the new building before the kids return from the break. I hope it will make the kids happy to see the thousands of snowflakes that have been made for them with love by children and adults from all over America. I can't imagine it will be an easy day for the kids or parents when it is time to return to school. May peace, hope and love reign down on the Sandy Hook school children and their families.

    As it has been since December 14th, you and your family and most especially, Noah, remain in my heart and prayers,

    Lori Poole
    Chantilly, VA

  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and all that you and your family are going through. My daughter has two little boys and a little bird was tapping on her bedroom window for days....they didn't know what to think of it. We checked the dates and it was a couple of days before the terrible day....I believe it was a sign. Of what I don't know but if all this reminds us to love our families and cherish the children in our lives will that is what I hope we do. Prayers are with you as a Nana, mother, and teacher I hurt for you all.

  11. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and all that you and your family are going through. My daughter has two little boys and a little bird was tapping on her bedroom window for days....they didn't know what to think of it. We checked the dates and it was a couple of days before the terrible day....I believe it was a sign. Of what I don't know but if all this reminds us to love our families and cherish the children in our lives will that is what I hope we do. Prayers are with you as a Nana, mother, and teacher I hurt for you all.

  12. I look forward to your posts as though they are a gift. And that is exactly what they are - a gift to yourself, a gift to Noah, a gift to Noah's family and a gift to the world. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your beautiful family with us all. I am holding you all in my heart.

  13. Noah and his wonderful family stole my heart and mind! I just want to be in touch with you FOREVER please!!! I was planing to go and visit Noah's town but for the moment economy reasons don't let me go! I read about Noah's family are planning to move to Seattle so, I think this is the only way to keep in touch about memorials event in the future! My dreams is one day make my daily pray for Noah in his tomb and give a tons of big huges to Veronique, Arielle, Sophia, Marie-Claude, Lenny, Danielle and Michael. I been crying and praying for all, but specially for him. I can feel pain in my heart every time that NOAH come to my mind! I will keep praying and talking with Noah and God waiting for a sign to share with you.

    With all my love,


  14. Sending you much strength and love from one grieving mother to another. Such a little boy, your Noah, has made such a HUGE impact. He will never be forgotten

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  16. Thank you for posting your remembrances of Noah. Of all the beautiful souls who suffered that day, Noah Pozner touched my heart the most. It is not just the fact that he was beautiful, he had a personality that shone through in his photos, a warmth. Your family is equally inspiring and articulate, you have a lot to be proud of.

    I hope you are able to find comfort and solace in your faith and spiritual guidance. Noah looked like an angel, and now he is one. I hope the girls are able to find comfort in the postings, as well.

  17. In this time of mourning it is hopeful and helpful, I believe, for all of us to have access to your process with grief. My heart goes out to the families, to you, your daughter, Noah's father and those involved in the lives of all those affected. Thank you for writing about this. It is healing. And yes! What an expressive face Noah had... the photo of him you included is full of personality, humor, wisdom and life.

  18. Hi MC, I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago... and it is so sacred. Being the mother of two boys, ages 7 and 8, I have been extremely affected. I could have stayed away from the news (like so many of friends did) in order to protect my heart, but I found it's better to love and take the risk of feeling immense pain. The best way I know to love (and grieve properly) is to find out as much as possible about these precious lives and celebrate them accordingly. I am truly enjoying getting to know your handsome, spunky little Noah. Prayers are with you and your family.
    Pleasanton, CA

  19. I am pleased he got to see his present and play with it before Christmas too, since he never got to make it to Christmas poor little thing xx

    It is interesting you say you wish he'd been off school with a cold at hone that day, because I had the same thoughts before now, that if only they had been home sick or something then they wouldn't have endured what came on that fateful day. If only we all had a crystal ball to know what was coming beforehand. Again, I am so sorry for your family's loss, it's heartbreaking and I can believe the sleepless nights, I felt affected by this and having read a lot about Noah yesterday evening I didn't sleep well or straight away myself, so it must be ever more difficult and painful for your family members.

  20. Sorry to hear Noah's parents are estranged, I am sure both parents feel immense pain at the loss of their precious son, and you are right and respectful one what you say on the Father and his privacy. I am in a similar position with my child's Father, although I never married him for valid reasons.

  21. What a sweet little chair. I think having a memorial park where the school is, sounds like the best idea.
    Much sadness. Much love.

  22. From the bottom of my heart: merci.
    (Marla: St. Louis, MO.)



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