Thursday, March 14, 2013

Three months ago today...

... an ebullient six-year old named Noah and nineteen other little kids lost their lives in their classrooms at the hands of a young man wielding a deadly weapon. The same young man also killed six grown-ups who worked at the school. Noah was our grandson.
One empty chair standing in for twenty-six... Twenty-six families staring at an empty chair everyday of their lives. Parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins grieving and mourning. Twenty-six names forever linked around a gaping void. Frayed lives hanging loose.
I don't think any of us will ever come to terms with what happened on that day. It was about 6:30 AM Seattle-time. I had just made coffee and was reading the paper when my daughter called, frantic, with the news that there was a shooter at the school and that she was driving there from work. The only thing I remember of the rest of the morning is our watching a live video on our computer screens and waiting, phones in hand. With hearts sinking into disbelief and despair.
Because of the time difference between the two coasts I had barely awakened when a dark car with black-tinted windows (never mind its real color: in my mind it was cloaked in darkness) and an even darker soul at the wheel started creeping up the school driveway. I had been to the school less than a month before when I flew back to Connecticut for Noah and Arielle's twin birthdays and I well remembered the long driveway leading to the large parking lot.
Inside the school it was probably life as usual. Some kids might not have settled down yet, several might have been still laughing and talking, teachers might have been trying to get everyone's attention, late comers might have just hung their jackets in the corridor, some might have been singing, others already reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and it may well be that nobody noticed the dark shadow now looming at the door.
I was reading the paper and drinking coffee when the dark car brought death to my grandson on the other side of the country. Noah's parents were at work. None of us had any business to be at the school and none of us was there. Yet I can't help feeling that we failed him. We were not there for him when he needed us most. He had no one to turn to in the last seconds of his life. The thought is haunting.
It breaks my heart that we can't tell him that it was just a movie and a sick one at that, one that should never have been made, way too violent for anyone to watch, and that he should never have disobeyed and switched channels but that now it was over and he was safe.
We can't tell that to Noah or to his little classmates. We can't even say it to his sisters Arielle and Sophia who are now fully cognizant of the fact that the world as they know it may come to an end in a matter of seconds in an deafening and terrifying cacophony of bangs and screams.
When I was a kid growing up in Paris, my mom wore nylon stockings. Nylons were expensive in France (my dad - who traveled constantly for work - brought them back for her in the US). When they ripped, she didn't throw them away. She washed them carefully (by hand of course), dried them on a towel rack over the bathtub and, when dry, folded them in a little bag. When she had half-a-dozen or so in need of attention, she took them to a darner. She also brought her our socks when they wore out.
I usually went with her. I remember the darner. She worked for a glove shop which doubled as a notions store but instead of working inside the store itself as the other employees, she had her own tiny booth in the shopwindow and everybody could see her darning socks and stockings all day long over a wooden egg. We didn't have to actually walk into the store to hand her the stockings. We would just stop on the sidewalk in front of her, knock on the glass and she would open her half-window and take in the work. I can't remember if we paid her directly or if we had to go inside to the cash register. But I remember vividly the pattern of criss-crossing threads her needle wove over the hole in the sock or the ladder in the stocking. Up and down, over and under, her needle went, recreating fabric. So thin and delicate the repair could barely be seen but smooth and flexible and stronger than before the rip. I loved watching the darner work and marveled at her skill and patience.
The fabric of our lives has been violently ripped on December 14th, 2012. I have often thought of the darner since. For the younger members of our family, I wish a needle would secure the frayed threads and weave a patch so that they can look towards the future, secure in the love they shared with Noah. Never forgetting but never without hope either and maybe stronger for the grief and trauma.
But for us grown-ups, I know the hole will remain gaping where Noah ought to be. He was robbed of his future and violently taken from his family. There is no darning that over.

47 comments:

  1. MC, I think of Noah everyday...he will not be forgotten and I hope the events of December 14th will not be either. God bless you.

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  2. I think of Noah often. Those captivating eyes, that warm smile. I pray for him every night, and for the family that must live without their little man. I really don't know how you are supposed to recover from such a horrific loss. I pray that someday you will see Noah again, and explain how much you have loved him and always will. My heart goes out to your family.

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  3. MC, I don't have a doubt that Noah's last thought were of how much he loved his family not that they should have been there with him. He was at every child's home away from home: his school. Keep focusing on how much he loved his family and looking for his signs proving it to you until you are reunited again. We will never forget Noah and the rest of his classmates and teachers.

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  4. Although a day doesn't pass that I don't think about Noah, I find that the closer the fourteenth of any month draws, the more he lingers in my mind. I watch my own son and still think how much he and Noah are alike and how well they'd have gotten on, if they'd had the chance to meet. I'm not particularly religious, but I do believe in God and I do believe He is there to comfort when no one else can be. And because of that, I don't believe any of those kids were truly alone at all.

    I only hope that we as a country have learned from this and that change is waiting in the wings - serious change that is long overdue.

    Many hugs to you, MC and your family. Especially today.

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  5. MC, I just want you to know that I believe any of us would have guarded that school and sacrificed our own lives to have protected the lives inside. I still cry everyday, watch for your post everyday, and try to be better everyday. As far as Noah and the others being "alone" during this time I just have to believe that God had 26 angles standing their, one for each. I pray that they never felt pain, I pray that all were shielded by these angles. I know that I will never be the same after December 14, 2012. In my darkest times through this I was very angry with God. I know that He didn't do it, but I will never understand why He didn't stop it. I am much better with emotions than I am with words, I suppose I just want peace and warmth in the hearts of you and all of the families left to deal with this horrific, senseless reality. Especially to the little ones. We can bake and we can love. You did not fail Noah, we as a selfish nation failed Noah and the others. I get sick to my stomach every time I hear someone speak in terms of defending the second amendment. For the first time in my life I am ashamed to be an American. I am in total shock and disbelief at so many people who have said "just be thankful it wasn't your child". Well, my question is why does it matter whose biological child it was, they are all OUR children. Thank you once again for letting me get to know a little about Noah, in turn I have grown to love him, to grieve for him and to never forget him. You, MC, have given me a beautiful gift. THANK YOU.

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  6. MC,
    I remember, when my little sister, who was nine at the time, had her experience with death. Our other sister gave birth to a stillborn child, our neice, at full term. While driving home, my sister asked me, "Amy, why does God take away babies and children?" And I had replied to her, the one thing that I thought I child at her age could grasp and understand. "Kait, God loved her so much, he couldn't wait another day for her to come home and be with him." Sadly, the same little sister was taken away from us about two months later due to an illness we didn't even know she had. Nonetheless, I am thinking of you, your daughter, your family, Noah and his sisters, not just today, but every day. When I pull up to my son's school everyday I cannot understand why ANYONE would want to hurt these children.


    Praying for your signs to be ever so present, and that you feel Noahs' love surrounding you each and every day.

    Hugs,
    Amy C. in Michigan

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    1. I am so sorry for the losses in your life, Amy. Thank you for remembering us despite your own grief...

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    2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and stories about Noah, especially during this difficult time (it does not get any easier, and I am sorry for that). The days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months, and it feels just like yesterday they were here. Yet everything is different. Grief is an unexplainable thing; its when I`m happiest that I miss her the most. And that answer that I gave to her about our neice, that is what kept me sane all this time. There is a saying, that I have on my wall in the family room, "It may have been the end for the catipillar, but it was just the beginning for the butterfly".

      Always thinking of you and your family, Noah and his siblings.
      Hugs from Mich.
      Amy

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  7. I am just speechless. I expected you to post today and have been thinking of you and your family since last night, knowing midnight would bring the 3 month mark.

    I also wish it was all a nightmare and we could all wake up with life as it was on Dec 12th.

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    1. Exactly.
      Marla (St. Louis)

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  8. I thought of Noah and the others the other day. My 3 year old son and his 3 year old cousin were coming out of a restaurant after breakfast and it was windy. They both let their balloons go that they received after being well behaved during breakfast. My son was screaming for it and both were upset. I saw both the balloons rise up to the sky and thought to myself "those balloons are going to make some kids very happy up in Heaven." Even though my son was having a temper tantrum in the backseat I watched those balloons until I could no longer see them with a smile on my face :) I of course went back inside to ask for two more balloons :) Your family and those of the other beautiful people are always in the back of my mind.

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    1. One was a blue balloon :)

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  9. I also forgot to tell you one balloon was blue and I thought how much Noah would love that!

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  10. MC, As I have said before, every word you speak, every thought I have of Noah every day, makes me appreciate more moments with my twins. I stop mid speach when I am "busy" and know that it is them that is important, not the menial task that almost took my attention. My heart breaks for you and Veronique and his siblings each day. No one knows what to say because there is nothing we can say, to make it better. You and your family are loved by many, and although Noah never became a man, hopefully one day, we can look back and know this "little man" changed the course of history in America through the actions of his brave family and the many that came to love him.

    Love and continual prayers.............Sherri, Isaac and Nonie

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  11. Over the past two months I've watched my first grade daughter and 15 other kids her age play co-ed clinic basketball. 10 of them running up and down the court at a time. Actually my daughter didn't run, she skipped. Their voices were always loud, filling the large gym with their excitement. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that these kids were the same ages as Noah and his classmates. And for as numerous as they seemed, even more were lost at Sandy Hook. While I live many states away, this tragedy is personal. It exposes the fragility of life and how our country has lost focus on what's important. You and your family gave Noah love, the most important thing in the world and the thing he desired most in life. He was a seedling and you were the sun. And he gave you his love in return. You did not fail him MC. We as a nation failed him and for that I am truly sorry.

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    1. So very well said.
      -Kriss (Rockport, TX)

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  12. I have not forgotten. I will always remember your grandson Noah and the 25 others at Sandy Hook. It seems like it happened yesterday, yet at the same time it seems like something that occurred long ago. Praying that God will heal your hearts and mend the broken fabric of your lives.

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  13. Ah,...I knew you would post today. How sad that I would enjoy reading your post when I would only ever have come across you and your blog through this horror. In another world I would have happened upon you because I had considered baking my first loaf of bread. We would have connected and become cyber friends and I would enjoy hearing your lovely tales of breadmaking with all your children and dear sweet Noah, sitting on the counter with his feet banging the cupboards and we would all carry on in brilliant oblivious normalcy.

    We can no longer afford to take any of our simple pleasures for granted.

    Every day MC that you get through is a victory. And you have been victorious for 3 months now although you may not feel that way. Somehow I feel certain that Noah is proud of you and your family.

    I guess now it's all about courage. The courage to carry on and make the best of it whatever that becomes.

    Is it silly for me to say "hang in there?" perhaps "hang on" is more appropriate. Hang on to all the wonderful memories, the simple fleeting moments of joy and the love of your grand children. Hang on to the support you receive from your friends, new and old,...those you've met and those you'll never meet.

    We all care.

    Lisa Harper

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  14. Fedra tucci (Italia)March 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Proprio stasera, tornando a casa, ho pensato che erano trascorsi tre mesi, ai bambini e alle loro maestre nei loro ultimi momenti a scuola, esattamente come ha detto lei Signora : pensavo che è impossibile, per i familiari, per chi ha amato queste vittime, scordare quei terribili minuti... dalla sicurezza e dalla serenità di una giornata qualsiasi in una bellissima scuola americana, all'assurdo, dall' amore al nulla ...è un pensiero insopportabile per chiunque... le vittime di Newtown saranno sempre nel nostro cuore

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    1. I wish there was a way to "like" the comments as we do on Face Book. We are a huge community of mourners....
      Marla

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  15. Hi MC
    I figured that you would post something today. I find that as the 14th draws closer each month I reflect a bit more, and feel an immense sadness settle over me. I bought a camera last spring before my first trip to Israel for Easter / Passover, and since then have begun to use my camera as a way to get out and enjoy nature. I find that on many occasions as I see a particularly lovely sunset or snowfall I think of Noah and what he and his classmates will miss. You are right nothing can fill the enormous hole in your hearts, but by keeping Noah in our thoughts we keep the essence him alive. I think of you and your family often and wonder how everyone is doing. I wish you all the best. Liz

    PS I will be trying the learning loaf this weekend as I have off. I will keep you posted.

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  16. I remembered. AWF, Saratoga, CA

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  17. Dearest MC,

    While the threads of your life have become so tragically frayed, the first, strongest and most beautiful thread has remained unharmed, not a single fiber out of its place. This core thread is God's ultimate gift of pure love between you, Noah and his loved ones. This bond with Noah will never be broken because this love that has been shared will always remain.

    This thread of love is the alpha and the omega...so powerful it will work with your own pace to always remember and to honor Noah, but which with time will eventually give to you a renewed sense of meaning and purpose.

    While you certainly will never 'get over' Noah's death, may this omnipotent thread of love shine so brightly within you that it continues to melt your iceburg, sending its pieces to trusted souls, and reach a depth that over time allows you to once again 'swim freely' in this lifetime.

    Much love to you today,
    Erin Gill

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  18. Thank you for this beautiful post. With three young girls (the oldest a first grader) - I still wonder nearly every day "what if this was me?" I am working in Noah's honor (and the other 19 children) - I am writing letters and emails to my congressman (often while my youngest naps), meeting with them (sometimes with my three children in tow), gathering with groups and speaking out to make a change. Because if this were my daughter...my Grace...I would want mother's across the country to do the same. As a mother, I want you to know that I am standing up for your children - for our children - the only way that I know how. Love and peace.

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  19. God grant all Our Little Angels who went Home to their Maker eternal rest and all their families strength and comfort knowing their loved ones are safe from harm anymore and watching over them always like their guardian angels.
    I was waiting for your post today MC as I was counting the days to the third month and woke up with that familiar sad feeling.
    Noah is in our thoughts daily and our prayers are with all the families.
    We love you all and wish you'll only love and strength.













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  20. God grant all Our Little Angels who went Home to their Maker eternal rest and all their families strength and comfort knowing their loved ones are safe from harm anymore and watching over them always like their guardian angels.
    I was waiting for your post today MC as I was counting the days to the third month and woke up with that familiar sad feeling.
    Noah is in our thoughts daily and our prayers are with all the families.
    We love you all and wish you'll only love and strength always.

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  21. It makes me so happy to see these comments. It give me hope for humanity. Those of you who said it are right; we, as a nation, failed the 26 who were murdered in Newtown. MC - I just hope your family feels the love of us out here who care. Words seem useless as nothing will really help. Just know we love you all and we care. I have not forgotten. I pray for the 26 every day, by name. I cannot understand how anyone can defend the 2nd Amendment after this.

    I have read several places that the issue should be attacked the same way that MADD attacked drunk driving. I pray that the 26 deaths were not in vain. I hope that my grandchildren read that their deaths were the final straw that made people change their minds on guns and violence.

    God Bless All.

    Peace and Love.

    Eric
    Burke VA

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  22. MC~enduring condolences... You are a wonderful writer and today's posting concludes in poetry. Noah's loss is ineffable. I, as an unknown to you, probably have little to offer; nevertheless, I'd like to share what others have found to be helpful in managing mourning peppered with guilt, that whenever that sickening " I should have...." feeling (or thought) takes hold, one intentionally, mindfully replaces it with the explicit thought: "I wish that ..."
    My heart aches for your family's loss and for Noah's life being so abreviated. :-(
    Marla

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  23. 3 months! I still have not lost the feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness at not being able to fix this or make it right. I wore purple for Dylan's birthday, and I read this blog and the posts on the facebook page of 'in living memory of sandy hook elementary victims', but it seems too little too late. I don't know what else to do.

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  24. 3 months! I still have not lost the feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness that I can't make this better or somehow fix things. I wore purple for Dylan's birthday, I read this blog and the facebook page of 'in loving memory of sandy hook elementary victims'. It seems to be too little, too late. I don't know what else to do.

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  25. MC, I want you to know that I think of Noah quite often. I have two boys, Noah (9) and Nathan (7). Noah has been inspiring me in my composing for my new album, "Heart". I wrote a song, "Newtown", which will be featured on a benefit CD to help the Sandy Hook Music Department, as well as my new album. It features piano and cello. Noah also directly inspired me on a song I wrote just for him, "Fly Away". I think of those balloons going higher and higher...

    I just want you and your family to know that Noah will be immortalized in music, and that I will never, never forget him.

    Sincerely,

    Doug Hammer
    http://doughammer.net

    https://soundcloud.com/voices123/newtown

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  26. Last night as I prayed for you and your family, I drifted to sleep. My sleep took me to your house where you were beginning your day, before the phone call. I dreamed I was recounting your day to my 17 year old daughter as we were both in tears. I will continue to pray for you. I know you must have many nights of many dreams.... some happy memories, some hoorible reality. I pray God will bring you and yours comfort. Love and prayers........sherri

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  27. MC, I too had a question for you, have you or any other members of the family received any more signs from Noah? I have always believed in signs since receiving some myself.

    Thanks
    Jennifer

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  28. MC, I could never forget sweet little Noah. 3 months or years from now. He is imprinted in my heart. I along with all the other souls that were touched by your Grandson are here to listen and to share a tiny piece of the tremendous heartache you are going through. Together we will listen and fight for all the little angels.

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  29. MC you are very special. You love all your family so much, their lucky to have you as their mother/ grandmother. Someday MC you will be with him again. Someday you will look into each others eyes again and never let go.

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  30. I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know how you bear it with such grace. God bless your family and all the other families who have been hurt by this tragedy.

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  31. Thank you, MC for your beautiful words. We, as Americans have failed Noah; please do not blame yourself. From the photos I have seen, Noah was deeply loved by his family and he loved them in return. I still, to this day, cry when I see Noah's mother speak about him, on behalf of the gun control movement. I guess he will always be in my heart, as it should be. He was a child of God and we all let him down, with inadequate protection in our schools. Please know that Noah is in my heart and your family is in my prayers.

    Eileen

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  32. As one who has also lost a child, I can only say that the hurt makes you better or bitter. I couldn't possibly have Alexandria's legacy be that her mom became a bitter person. She fought so long to be in this world and despite chemotherapy and sickness was a light and so full of life. Noah and all of the lovely children of Sandy Hook deserve the same legacy. That when we see them again in heaven they applaud what we, who were left behind, have done to make things better. My prayer right now is for strength AND hope for you and your family as you make your way through grief. And as you have already been doing, let Noah's light be the guide for the steps you take in this world. Will keep praying for all of you because my family has walked a similar road. Long after the flowers and gifts are gone and everyone else's lives have drifted back into a routine, my family will be praying for yours. Signed - Kristi

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  33. Whenever I see or hear anything beautiful I think about Noah. I was up early one morning after it had snowed all night. We live in the country and the view from my back deck is just fields and trees for miles. The sun was coming up and the snow was glistening and it looked like diamonds. It was breathtaking, and my thoughts drifted to Noah. Every time I listen to beautiful music I think about Noah. He just goes along with beautiful things. I also feel like I failed these children and it haunts me. I wish all of you could bring me your broken hearts and I could mend them. You and your family are always in my prayers and in my heart.

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  34. I'm thinking often of Noah and the others that have died in this horrible event. And I hear politicians talking and fear, that, again, nothing will change. Sometimes I wonder whether I was right in bringing my daughter to this country...

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  35. MC, ever since i've heard about Noah's death, i've been thinking non-stop about him. He is such a sweet and beautiful young boy and makes me happy everytime i see his smile in the pictures you post of him. He's like a best friend i have never met. One day i even wrote his name on my wrist showing how much i care about him and his family. I wish i had a chance to meet him. And for your family, i honestly would've risked my life for him, even if i would have gotten struck with those bullets. I would've done the same to save all the children. I would've put myself in between the shooter and the kids. My prayers go to your family and i hooe you guys one day are reunited with noah and that you get to see him again. I hope to see him one day as well. May he rest in peace.
    -from a 14-year old boy
    P.S. god bless you, Noah, and your family. May God protect you all from any evil creeping in this world.

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  36. It has been 3 months now. 3 horrible months without Noah...
    I visit your blog very often. I pray for Noah, his classmates & teachers every day. I pray for all of you so you find somehow a way to live and to remember. No one deserves what happened on Dec 14th. Always yours, Alex

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  37. MC, this one has been one of the hardest to read. I am so sorry. I don't know what to say. My son Z does though and I am so glad to hear his thoughts.
    What you have said about someone being there for Noah was heartbreaking. I walk out the gates every day after dropping the boys at school with all the other parents and I feel that we do leave a piece of ourselves with our kids; our love is with them even if we are not. I know Noah had a happy life and a happy outlook. He knew he was loved so very, very much. I think that love was what he knew, even in the dark. And I believe he knows it still .
    Julia

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  38. MC I am so sorry for Ur loss. I am sure Noah knew how much he was loved in those last moments and I am sure there were many angels with them to ease their moments of being in that scary place with that bad bad boy. I think of Noah and the other sweet children and teachers every day and I love them all with my being I just wish I could earase that horrible day..my thoughts are with u and Ur family every day...I just cent believe its been 3 mos...have u seen any signs latley?? I was looking out side one night after putting my kids to bed and I looked at the sky and saw a star shining so bright and I instantly thought of Noah. I felt like it was him saying I am ok. I told him I loved him and thought of him as one of my own..I.can only imagine what u and Ur family is going thru. U are all so strong and Noah knew he was loved!!! I wish I could hug u all and take the pain away..prayers to u all. Love Lindsay

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  39. Farine, this is one of the most difficult posts to read. I'm so, so, sorry for your loss. I know that you and your family have gone through one of the most traumatic events anyone can endure. I don't know your family personally however I feel so close to you. I feel that at some point I knew your beautiful angel. I'ts a weird feeling to describe. I remembered all day long on the 14th and I realized that I have not been the same since that horrible day. I'm a strong believer that we should love our dear ones while they can feel that love, I believe you loved your grandson as well as your family. I know he knew that until his last breath.A child that has been loved can be recognized in a multitude.Your grandson was so loved that it showed through every picture, every gesture and of course that SMILE, the one I'm still crying about, rest assured that he knew he was loved, important and missed. May god bless you and your family and as I said before you will see Noah again, its god's promise for those who believe. XOXOXO-Kathy Orlando Florida

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  40. MC, I think of Noah and his classmates often. They have a special place in my heart. Noah is looking down from heaven with those gorgeous eyes and can feel the love of your family and our country wrapped around him. Thank you for sharing your blog, I read it often. My heart still aches for your family. My son Noah is almost 2, and this tragedy has made me cherish every single day I have with him. I hope spring brings healing and love to your family.
    Kati in MA

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