Nine years have gone by since the Sandy Hook massacre that took our grandson Noah’s life and the lives of 25 others, including 19 kids and 6 educators. He had turned 6 three weeks earlier.
That day will remain branded in my memory until the day I die. It isn’t in my power to change any of it, to go back in time wishing for a snow day or for a pandemic that would have closed schools and given the killer time to reflect and stand down. Sometimes I even wish guiltily that Noah had had a fever and stayed home. But then I think of the other victims and I know it is no good. Nothing can change what happened.
The grief hasn’t changed either. I have been told that you learn to live with it, and that’s true, but I have also been told that after a few years it would morph into something different, more manageable, more « reasonable. » Well, I am here to tell you it hasn’t. And I don’t expect it to. In fact I don’t want it to. As long as I feel heavy with longing and pain, I know love is alive.
What has changed over the years is Noah. In my mind’s (heart’s) eyes, he is now your typical teenager (he would have turned 15 last month,) tall, with a sweep of thick glossy dark hair, luminous eyes, eyelashes any girl would envy and a quick tongue. Maybe he has a girlfriend, maybe he is rebellious, maybe he plays an instrument, maybe he doesn’t like school, maybe he wants to be a marine biologist or an influencer on TikTok. We’ll never know because his future was stolen.
From him, from us.
He would be playing video games with his sisters and his many cousins. There would be visits back and forth. Strong ties would be woven across the continent.
Instead, there is a Noah-shaped hole in the fabric of our lives and it won’t ever be mended.