Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Noah Pozner: a new year

Although I wish us all peace and comfort in 2013, I am sad we are already moving on to a new year. I think of Noah, of his little friends and of his teachers, several of whom (kids and grown-ups) the family knew and loved and now that we can say that we lost them last year, it is as if we were being carried down a powerful river and they were left behind, their figures growing fainter and fainter on an already distant shore.
Life goes on as they say and it is as should be. But yesterday when we came back from the triage center where they collect all the presents to the families and we told the girls we had a surprise for them, Sophia asked: "Noah's back?" She knew it wasn't so (I could see it in her eyes) but she hoped against all hope. Later they said they would give up all their toys, past, present and future, just to have him again. Fortunately they are kids: five minutes later they were negotiating over who would get to play first with which Barbie. Interestingly they agreed to disagree and set aside the one that threatened to be a bone of contention. Fighting isn't on their agenda. Rebuilding their little world clearly is.
By writing about Noah and by posting photos I took of him over the years, my hope is to make it clear that he can't be reduced to a name or a statistic. He was a very real little boy who was mown down by a very real gunman in his first-grade classroom together with his friends and his substitute teacher: I wasn't there and can't replay the soundtrack in my mind but all the kids and grown-ups that made it out of that school on that day have it etched on their memories forever. And if I could, I would make sure we never forget it either. These twenty kids and six grown-ups were full of life and unbearably vulnerable, just like us. Made and sustained with love over the years, they were gone in seconds in an horrific act of violence.
I have always found it hard to reconcile the strength and intensity of the bonds that tie us together with the fragility of our bodies. Some call it the beauty, some call it the absurdity, I call it the tragedy of the human condition. Each of us deals with it as best he or she can.
Sooner or later this blog will stop being about Noah and our grief and will revert to an all-bread blog. It won't be right away but it will happen. I am already longing to bake again. In a way it will be easy to go back to bread: yes, Noah loved tacos, that's absolutely true. But when he came to spend time with us, his main staple was homemade artisan bread. He ate it straight, no butter, no cheese, no honey. "Only bread, please, Maminou". If we let him, he could put away a whole loaf in one day. He said he loved my bread best (a born charmer, this Noah!) and he loved it all: teff, buckwheat, spelt, wheat, rye, baguettes, batards, miches, focaccia, flat breads, etc.
Last summer when the family came to stay with us at our cabin by the river, he and his siblings ate so much bread that I had to bake everyday. I usually mixed the dough at the table while they were having breakfast and they took turns adding water. I can still see Noah's eager face: "Can I add water now? Can I?" Like his sisters, he loved the smell of the levain and listened intently when I explained how it helped raise dough. I remember thinking as they ate and watched and chatted that maybe one day they would be making bread in turn for their own family. In a way I will always be baking for Noah. And if, because of all this, you decide to have a go at making your own bread, so will you. You will get plenty of help and support from the online bread community, that's for sure.
See how Noah worked his magic? I started writing all sad and deflated and now I am smiling, rejoicing in my little "bread monster" as he and his siblings liked to call themselves.
Some of you have written or commented that you find solace in reading about our grief on this blog. I can only say your reaching out is a great source of comfort as well: it feels like a communal working through of the unspeakable. My hope is that when I stop sharing our family story and find other, maybe more active ways to remember Noah and all those who were taken from us on December 14th, you will too. That is my wish for 2013.





45 comments:

  1. Maminou is such a beautiful name for grandmother.

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  2. Another beautiful write-up, Farine....

    I made a little post on taco dedicated to Noah, hope you enjoy it whenever you feel up to stop by.

    My whole family in Brazil asked me to wish your family a peaceful 2013, and strength to cope with the pain inflicted on you all.

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  3. Thank you MC oh thank you so much. My 2013 wish is to find out what each of the angels loved and remember them actively (as you say)...I love baking and have never dared to make bread but I will do this and more to remember the bread monster...you do give me comfort having a piece of Noah but what makes me smile is when you describe this amazing silly and curious little boy...<3 I wish the laces of hope, love, peace, and change around your family. I for one will never forget and actively demand a change.

    W. Lorenzo

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  4. MC, I am from India and I have read your blog very intently because of Noah. I wish you and your family a peaceful 2013. Each of the pictures that you have posted of Noah are so sweet and heart wrenching to me and I can only imagine what you all must be enduring. Thank you so much for your blog and I hope that in the future you will occasionally write about Noah. Sending lots of love and best wishes to your entire family and especially to Noah in heaven, from across the seas.

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    1. What i want to say already stated in this post, thanks a lot. By the way, i'm from Bangladesh.

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  5. I love reading these posts about Noah.. While I am devastated for all the families, Noah has stole my heart. I think about him every day and continue to pray for him in Heaven and for your family. I don't think I will be ever to have a taco again without thinking of sweet Noah :) Thank you so much for sharing this amazing little guy with us!
    Christine

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    1. I can't agree with you more. Little Noah has stolen my heart and I too think about him everyday. I pray for Noah and his family that they will find peace. <3
      Natalie

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  6. Your stories about Noah bring me a lot of comfort. I return everyday to see whether you posted another picture or beautiful memory of your amazing little man. They are full of all the wonderful things people should cherish, even though in today's society we often forget about the very simple beauty in this world. To me Noah is a symbol of this beauty. Whenever I see his picture, read your blog or just think of him I feel warmth, love and peace. It is quite clear that you and your family are wonderful people. Thank you for sharing Noah with us. I wish you all the love and happiness not only in 2013 but for the rest of your life.

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  7. Thank you so much voor sharing these stories and your beautiful photo's of your beautiful grandchild Noah.
    I have read and reread all your posts intently, sometimes with tears in my eyes, sometimes smiling and always with a heartfelt admiration for your warmth and strength.
    Love,
    j.

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  8. My dad made bread all the time and it was a favorite of my kids (and me!) when we went on vacation to visit him. His dinner rolls were the best. And he too had to bake every day when we were there. He also made incredible pizelles. The house always smelled so wonderful.

    My grandmother was an incredible cook as well. Every Sunday, she would put on a pot of gravy (tomato sauce) and cooked it all day. Meatballs and sweet and hot sausage. The aromas, the sneaking of gravy even before it finished cooking. The memories.

    I'm so glad you were able to share those baking moments with Noah. You enveloped him with love and nurtured his soul. He knew that you cared about him deeply and that your kindness came with no strings attached. You gave him the purest of love that kids thrive on, the type of love they need to grow.

    Farine, there is nothing anyone can say other than what happened was wrong, it was horrible and we as a society should hang our heads in shame for allowing something like this to happen. I will always carry your precious Noah in my heart as I try to affect change in our world. At first, I was angry; I wrote letters to politicians and I'm currently banned from the NRA website. But then, after a facebook argument I had with a friend over gun control, I found we were both in agreement about getting rid of assault weapons and high capacity clips. I realized that there is common ground. While I wish no guns existed in the hands of civilians, I know that's not going to happen. So I'm trying to launch a FB page that will hopefully educate people on current gun issues. My 13 year old daughter and I developed ICOGS - Intelligent Conversations on Gun Safety. Hopefully, through peaceful conversations and factual information, we can move toward ridding our country of civilian assault weaponry. I have 3 kids (one is a 1st grader too) and I fear for their safety at school. That shouldn't be.

    Please know that Noah will continue on in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. He is the strength and purpose for many to act, to bring about positive change in this confused world of ours. God Bless Noah and God bless your family.

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  9. I am so moved by your writing. I am a friend of Victoria's and have been with you all in heart and spirit. My mother-YiaYia to my children-is very much like you... I can feel your love so deeply for your grand babies and it fills me with both love and hope as well as breaking my heart into thousands of pieces over Noah's passing.

    Thank you for sharing... Your writing is so very heartfelt and beautiful.

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  10. Thank you for sharing Noah with us. I live in Northern Virginia. I have never been to Newtown but my heart has had a constant ache since December 14th. I am a grandmother of a 6 year old grandson Collin. Your beautiful writings of Noah have kept him alive in our hearts. I wish you and your family many wonderful memories and peace in 2013.

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  11. MC thanks for all the posts about little Noah he has being in my heart since I saw his picture..what a beautiful child.. a beautiful Angel. Made me smile at the story "poop instead of a peep"! I admire the support you given each other and also to let you know Noah has touch so many hearts not only in the US but also at Mexico little children lighted candles in memory of all this little Angels.. you and your family are not alone. Please keep posting, we have you and all your family especially the little ones in our prayers may God comfort and be by your side
    every day. Noah Will always be in our heart blessing Fam Bernal from Chicago

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  12. Love and hugs for the New Year.

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  13. MC thank you for your beautifully written posts regarding Noah and your family these past few weeks. He has touched the hearts of many and I have thought non-stop of you all. It hurt dreadfully to think that Veronique had to encounter heartless conjecture by a stranger when venturing outside your tight-knit circle. I hope the kindness and caring of people will always outweigh these types of experiences. No doubt the future will have many obstacles but the circle of family will always prove the palce of solace for you all.
    For the new year I wish your family peace. Peace of mind and soul. Anyone who has been through unimaginable trauma will understand that peace is so very evasive. Bake bread, eat heartily and share your memories. Love surrounds, Noah surrounds.

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  14. MC, Although I cannot begin to imagine the grief and pain that you and your family must be experiencing I am trying to make sense of a senseless act. I came across you blog while reading about Noah, and your words are inspiring. You have painted a picture of a wonderful little boy. I read your posts with sorrow and joy. Sorrow for the loss of your Noah and joy because I can see how loved he was. It is comforting to know that many others feel the sorrow that I do for Noah and the others. I am especially touched by Noah as he looks so much like my son. I found your post about your last conversation with Noah so emotional. The fact that he seemed to look at you as if memorizing you face. I wish you and your family peace, comfort and solace in 2013. For me, I will embrace life to the fullest and keep Noah in my heart always. Liz

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  15. What amazing pictures you have f Noah his beautiful long eyelashes and cute little mouth. Thank goodness you have these pictures to look at. What could I possibly say to help you? I'm sorry seems so inadequate. Thank you I guess for sharing. I will never forget Noah.

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  16. Thank you MC, for another beautiful recollection and description of your family life with Noah. I, too, understand your sadness of a the new year, and how those events are "yesterdays' news." Noah and the other beautiful children will never be reduced to being a statistic for me. They will forever be embedded in my heart. I cannot begin to fathom you grief, but please know that many others feel love for Noah and are praying for his soul, and his family to find some peace in the New Year. God bless.

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  17. Every day I look forward to your posts. I just watched on TV the way the school is getting ready to welcome the children back. Tomorrow my grandson goes back to school after his mini break. He is only 3, has no idea what has happened in Newton and that makes me happy. As we try to protect our young from fear and danger the reality is we cant always shield them from life's tragedy's. I love the innocence that is innate in the young, the way they trust and sounds of their laughter. On days I am sad or not feeling well, I can rely on my grandsons presence to bring me back to happiness. Noah and all the innocent babies that were taken from this world although a horrendous tragedy, could not have been in vain. I believe there is a reason. Although we never know why things happen, I am convinced that we will eventually understand God's work. I refuse to believe Noah was here on this earth without a purpose, I believe thru his innocence, smile and love he have a major impact on the world. He already has touched our hearts. Thank you so much for being a wonderful Grandma.

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  18. MC - Thanks for another beautiful picture of Noah and glimpse into your family. As one who has been reading your posts every day, I know I will be sad when they end. But for all of us who are taking solace in your writing, I think we will all have to find our own ways to keep Noah and these other children and adults alive in our hearts. But until that time comes, I do thank you for sharing your family with us.

    I said the other day what a great mom you are to your daughter, but you are a wonderful grandmother too. It sounds like you have created beautiful memories with your grandkids and they will always be thankful for that - trust me. I remember those special times with my grandmother. And your grandchildren will too.

    We had tacos the other night for dinner - in honor of Noah. But I must say - after reading about all the different kinds of bread you make - a warm loaf of fresh bread is just what my soul needs right now. I might have to try my hand at it.

    I pray that 2013 brings you peace and hope. Good night and God bless you, your family and your sweet angel, Noah.

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  19. In the grocery store the other day there was a magazine at the check out counter with the photos of all of the victims at Sandy Point. My eyes fell on Noah and my immediate thought was 'I know him'. I no I don't but you have brought him to life here with your words so that I do feel like I did know him…..His eyes and his luscious smile. I know others around the world must have similar feelings due to how you have shared so openly here.

    I know how you feel - traveling out into the world outside of the 'sacred circle' of family and friends. Your armor has been torn away from your heart. I know when I was faced with a life altering event I felt totally vulnerable. It is years later now and the feeling, though diminished, still remains. The old illusions simply do not work anymore. While it remains a challenge one thing I am eternally grateful for is the reverence I have for life and a heart full of gratitude for all of those who stepped forward during my time of need. If I live another 100 years I couldn't even begin to make up for all the little things that came my way. I live most of my days looking for ways to express the gratitude that just flows and flows forth started by those who gave to us so unselfishly.

    Thanks for sharing. You write so eloquently.

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  20. My 3 yr old son too loves his bread, at his last preschool they would tell me how he loves to eat bread there, every day I asked him what he ate and he'd say, bread! with a big smile on his face. I liked to hope he ate more than just bread but it seemed to be his favourite food at that preschool. He goes to Montessori again soon, this month, he started off in one and has always been a Montessori boy my Luke, a little leader where the other children would follow him and not vice versa. The more I read about Noah the more it reminds me of my own boy Luke, I can only guess the loss you must feel and how empty it is without him, it is utterly heartbreaking and sad and that is what I feel when I imagine Noah and how he is not with you all physically anymore, but at least he is in spirit.
    Like my own son, Noah clearly was full of life, entertainment and humour. Of course I wouldn't know what it feels like without him and can't say I know what you are going through as I don't and I hope I never will have to. I am sorry for your family's great loss. It's a loss to us all, we all lost a great person 'Noah' in this world among the other victims who were taken away from this world by an act of selfishness.

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  21. Thanks again for your words of solance. I could not control my tears when I read about the girls letting go of all their toys just to have Noah back. I wish that could be possible but then reality is far from that.I just hope that they cherish all his memories. I really have a heart ache thinking about the girls and also other sibblings who don't really comprehend death yet they have to deal with it. As much as I find comfort in yout blogs about Noah and how the family is coping, I will have to just find another way to keep his and other victims memories alive. One thought that I have a hard time with is that God does everything for a reason. I fail to get an answer for that. What is the reason behind the loss of these lives? Yes they are at a better place now but what about the famlies that they left behind?

    Shoma

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    1. Shoma, I cannot speak for the family but I have to say that this was the most senseless act of horror America has ever faced... But from the darkness came humanity at its finest. Kids have taken a stand against violent video games, families have grown closer, this incident has taught the world to love thy neighbor... It has inspired random acts of kindness... My mother said "where was God" in a moment of anger and deep deep sorrow for these families... This has tested faith for so many... But I told her if she believed God wasn't there that day she was crazy... He was Victoria Soto and Ann Marie Murphy, He was there with ALL of the children to call them home... He was with the nurse hiding under her desk, he was with and the principal as she activated the PA system... He was with Mrs. Roig as she kept her classroom safe... This tragedy has inspired the world... It has brought man kind together... People are reaching out and being better people because of it... My kids are learning all about random acts of kindness and never letting someone be alone at lunch or recess... Its the most devastating thing that's ever happened to this country but let me tell you something... Those children DID NOT die in vain... They awakened us to the NEED for humanity... Its sad that it ever had to come to this but yet here we are... Sandy Hook will not ever be the same place again but I can only hope that the inspiration for spreading love and positivity and kindness continues indefinitely. This world needed a wake up call... My greatest lesson in forgiveness came the moment I met the man who shot and killed my father when I was 15. It was just 3 years later and I was able to tell him I didn't hate him... Its time for a revolution. The world needs to change for the better and the sooner we as a nation start demanding better of our children, better of our media and entertainment, better of our mental health professionals and we stop making kids with mental health issues feel like outcasts the sooner we will see dramatic changes. We as a society have an obligation to these families and generations to come. This should NEVER have happened and should never ever happen again but do not allow your pain to overshadow the fact that they ALL had the most AMAZING purpose... They taught us LOVE. They taught us to ache for a stranger and to be there quietly praying for people we've never met... Please do not fail to see the good that has come of this... It has brought the families great comfort knowing we are all here to support them and that we do in fact see the shift in humanity. Their children will forever be heroes of humanity in my eyes... And I have to say read the 2 posts below this and you'll see I'm not the only one who thinks so.

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  22. Your daughter said of Noah that we had all been elevated in our humanity by knowing him. Truer words have never been spoken. Thank you for letting us, the world, love Noah, too.

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  23. Who would have ever guessed that little Noah would have accomplished so much in his too short six years? He has taught mothers to not take their children for granted. He has convinced people that they NEED to do kind things that they normally
    would not have done. He has taught us all to soften our hearts. To be a little nicer. WOW, we are all better people for knowing
    Noah. He was meant for great things. Noah has done more for humanity than most Nobel Prize winners.

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    1. How lucky we are that Heaven let us borrow one of there Angels, if only for a little while.

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  24. The photos you post are heartbreaking. What a beautiful little boy. My chest gets heavy and I find it momentarily hard to breathe every time I see one of these pictures. This picture in particular makes him seem so angelic. Thanks for continuing to post stories about Noah and updates on how your family is doing.

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  25. I'm thankful that Noah brought me here. Your posts, though some are very hard to read, are so uplifting. As a mom of two young boys (the older of which reminds me of Noah, very much), my heart has been so heavy for your family - as well as the entire community.

    But, food is something that can always lift our spirits. The memories and feelings associated with it stays fresh in our minds forever. It's amazing how one bite can transport us back to a certain place or time.

    I've written a book, but I suppose I just wanted to thank you - for sharing everything with us. I felt like if you guys could get through this in one piece, we all could. And as a food blogger, I can't wait to get started on trying some of your recipes. I really got more into bread baking in 2012, and I hope to do even more in 2013. Thanks again, MC.

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  26. aww feel bad for sophia.. i also would of wish the same thing as her, the return of such angel back to earth to be with his lovely sisters and families, but i know he's by god side watching over his family and protecting them.. R.I.P. Angel Noah

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  27. I stumbled upon your page because of facebook... Someone had posted one of your links. My name is Alysia. I have 3 children. My son Cameron resembles Noah... Certain photos just get to me. My heart literally aches for all of these families... But there is just something about Noah... The reason I am reaching out is because my 10 year old son Jordan has found a BEAUTIFUL and active way to remember Noah and all the other Angels that got their wings that day. Here is a link to the fb pagehttps://www.facebook.com/LightTheSkyWithLightAndLove I hope that this in some way reaches your family and gives you all a sense of love and support. We are teaming up with a non profit to collect donations for scholarships and safe school initiatives... the first responders as well. Please know I am praying for your family and our family will not ever forget Noah or any of the other beautiful souls taken too soon! <3

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  28. I am happy I came across your website as I have wanted very much to say something or do something for you're family. As I know there will never be any words that will take away the pain of a broken heart we still seek them to comfort others. I cannot explain why but Noah has stuck with me he reminds of my little boy who is around the same age as well as little details such as his favorite color being blue, and having a love for super Mario I had read somewhere. My heart grieves for noah's mother as I have found myself thinking and praying for her, and asking God to give her peace that only He can give. Her strength inspired me after seeing the eulogy, her words captured every essence of this little life and it touched me deeply. I would like her to know that people all over the world know this little boy and we know that this was a precious life filled with love and energy and that he was important. Noah's soul lives on because his picture has touched so many as well as myself. I can see the love in his eyes and warmth in his smile and his innocence inspires me to love deeply and m ade me realize how precious life really is. There is something about his picture that shows that in fact there is goodness in this world. I absolutely believe that noah is in the everlasting arms of his creator and there is no darkness there, there is only light and it should inspire us all to strive to be there one day as well. I read somewhere that he liked rainbows I believe with every fiber of my being he has a view of God's rainbow in all its glory. Your blog about the signs of Noah give me chills but gives me a sense of serenity as well, keep looking for those signs. I had a beautiful cardinal come to my window every day for a while, something so small can be such a comfort. I would have loved to sent a card to noah's mother but had no idea of where to send or if it would get to the correct place. May God bless your family with a lifetime of blue birds and blooming flowers. Matthew 5:4

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  29. Blessings to you all. It is bittersweet, knowing more about Noah now that he is gone, but we will continue to make sure he lives on in our hearts.

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  30. Your words rise and sustain. Thank you for this window and for allowing us to come together to remember Noah.

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  31. I've been following your blog via Veronica on twitter and I enjoy reading these sweet memories of your Noah. I was drawn to Noah out of all the children as he reminds me of my son. The way you describe his larger than life personality and jovial antics and just all around active boy, I can relate. My son also shares Noah's Hebrew name. I'm so very sorry for your loss and think of your family daily. Keep writing. I found it very therapeutic writing after my dad's sudden death 7 years ago. I pray your days become more manageable and know that the whole world will honor and remember Noah forever. As a side note. You've inspired me to begin baking my own bread. I'm not sure where to start, but your blog is inspiring.

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  32. May Noah be forever an angel for the girls.

    xo

    Francis-Olive

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  33. Sherry (nygal@yahoo.com)January 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    I bake pies, and completely relate to your instinct to bake bread - it's creating life, in its own way, and celebrating life, "rising," comfort, sustenance. Your blog is quite simply the most beautiful expression of humanity and love that I have ever read. I wish you hadn't ever had to write it, though I revere the love it expresses. I miss Noah on your behalf, adding another boatload of tears to the river. Your family is in my heart forever.

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  34. Nobody who has read anything about this little boy will ever forget him. He reminds me of my son (age 4) and you remind me of my mother. She's a great cook, and he's a great helper. You, your daughter, and the rest of Noah's family have honored him with dignity. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and the other families that lost children and loved ones in this terrible tragedy. God bless.

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  35. Farine -
    I've been wanting to email for some time since this horrific event but haven't been able to articulate my feelings until now. I guess as a mother of a little boy myself - I still can't bring myself to accept that what happened on December 14th was even possible. That human kind was capable of such a senseless act. I write you this email to you but also to your daughter Veronque. I want you both to know that I did not know Noah or your family before this tragedy but that for some reason I also mourn his loss and not a day has gone by where I haven't thought of you and him. My little boy is also mischievous (and sometimes fresh too) but also a warm hearted soul as was noah and in some weird way I feel a connection to noah thorough my son. I also call him my little man - but have not been able to call him that since without also thinking of your little man. I want you to know that Noah's spirit lives on in NYC where I live and that I too will never forget him or what happened on December 14th 2012. Much love to you all and a big hug for noah.

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  36. Thank you for allowing us into your world. It is so appreciated. I know it can't be easy. <3

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  37. people will never forget what happened- i know my life will never be the same- everything has changed, i cannot imagine how you and your family must feel, i send love and light everyday and i think you are helping me heal by sharing and i just want to hug you- so very very sorry- laura

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  38. Your writing is beautiful. I have a son, he is 5 1/2 years old. He is imaginative, curious, sparkly, and full of sass. Maybe that is why I have been so drawn to Noah. I have cried a river--that continues to flow--but oh thank you so for sharing. Yes, there is solace in reading of your grief. My words are inadequate, I know, I am just so very sorry for your loss. Love to you from Kristin Richison, Rockport, TX.

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  39. I am sitting here in Tasmania, Australia and just posted your daughters article about Noah to my facebook page. I am completely unable to fathom what it must be like to live somewhere where this sort of thing can only be expected on a regular basis thanks to legislation that protects people's right to be armed with high powered rifles...the world is with you in wanting this dealt with. America isn't alone in this fight...the rest of the world is watching you and supporting you from the sidelines. I came to this blog, from another blog looking for bread. Healing, soul food that I wanted to bake to make life a little more real. I ended up finding reality in your honest grief and even though we will never meet, I just wanted to reach out to you and hold you in my thoughts to share our human condition...some day the bread will come again, I, like you, want the world to know about the truth of what happened, no gloss, no angels and no bypassing the horror of it all to salve the conciences of gun lobbies and those in power with vested interests...let them taste the pain and the truth of their lobbying power and see what their "work" has done. A brave fight by a brave family that the world is proud of.

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  40. I am so saddened by what has happened to Noah and all of the children at Sandy Hook. I think of him often throughout the day and night. It weighs heavy on my heart. I also think of Noahs mother and cannnot begin to imagine her heart ache..after reading about how she identified Noahs body, that image is and always will be in my mind when i think of the tragedy that took place that day. He was truly a beautiful child, and i can say that I will never forget him!!! I will continue to pray for you all!!!

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