I started sobbing. It came on so fast, from such depths of despair that I had no time to stop it. I tried to cry quietly. There were so many members of the Press around me, sniffing out stories. I didn’t want to be seen, I just wanted to grieve. I saw all the little teddy bears, in groups of 20, the candles, the cards with messages of blessings and love, the drawings by children-for children. It was real. I could not deny it any longer. I kept on sobbing.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The road to Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Seeing something unfold on television is safe. It’s not really happening because it’s on TV and you’re home in your living room where nothing bad is going to happen to you. Seeing Anderson Cooper standing up the street from the Sandy Hook Diner makes no sense, but he’s on TV so he’s not REALLY here.
It’s very difficult to describe just how surreal the past few days have been for me. Everywhere I go I see the Press or endless traffic in a town with only a few decent north-south running roads and glorified horse trails for the roads the run east-west. I kept seeing faces I recognized, but not because they were my friends, it was because they are reporters.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Just steps away from this sign our hearts were broken and our community was laid waste.
I saw license plates from all over the tri-state area. I heard voices speaking French, Spanish, Japanese and I think some sort of African dialect. They are all here to witness and perhaps see for themselves that this really happened. I don’t want to think badly of them. Maybe they’re exactly like me, grieving and they just live further away. I fear they are just riding some sort of terror-tourism bus here, at least that’s what Sam calls it. I want to think better of people than that, but I worry that too many of them just want to grab a chance to be on TV.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. How about “No Media” at all?
I gathered myself and dried my tears, wishing I had a tissue in my pocket as my Mother always taught me to do. I thought of my Mother and wondered what she’d make of all this. She would have been taking photos and talking to people but her heart was already so broken by my Father taking his own life-using a gun-that I doubt she would have let her emotions get the better of her.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. There are no words.
A cold mist was falling and I wasn’t wearing a coat. I shivered, but kept on. I crossed the street and headed up Dickenson Drive, to the last place on Earth 20 little children and six adults were last seen alive—Sandy Hook Elementary.
The path was up a steep curving hill. The first thing I saw was an old graveyard off to the left. I couldn’t help but see the sad irony of it being so close to the school. The grave stones were darkened, weathered, their engravings softened, the names forgotten by decades of rain. I thought about all the funerals to come and how one day, many decades from now, this probably would be forgotten, too.
I walked on a short distance and saw the Christmas trees-26 donated by some people in North Carolina. Each tree representing a loss. Each tree covered with little plush toys and more messages of love. I wish there were 27 trees because Mrs. Lanza deserves our love and a tree, too…in truth even the shooter does. Though I find it very difficult to have compassion for him, as we all do, as a Buddhist, I must try. We all suffer. We all cause pain and feel pain. He may have been suffering in an unimaginably extreme way and clearly he was very seriously mentally ill to open fire on such innocents. But where was his support? Why did he feel the need to act out as he did?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The 26 Christmas trees by the school.
I thought to myself; “What if I was so sick that I did something like that?” No one is pure evil. In his heart, somewhere was love, even if it was just a grain. If I was the shooter I would have wanted someone to love me, to help me through my pain, but I know it’s NOT as simple as that. We don't know who he was and we may never know why he did what he did. The act was completed in moments, but the pain will have a ripple effect for MANY years to come.
I don’t claim to be an authority on the shooter by any shape or form. I just know I need to be a better person and to be more compassionate to everyone if I can.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nice and tidy now, but as of tonight (Monday) you can barely make out any single object the shrine is so huge.
I stood by the sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School that has now become the icon representing this tragedy. As I stood there, I watched some workers with a truck filled with palettes. I believe they were taking the memorial items and placing palettes beneath them to keep them better preserved, but I’m not sure about that. As the workers moved the palettes into position, one of them began using a pneumatic nail gun to fix one of the structures. The loud “pop, pop, pop!” startled everyone. I immediately stiffened, feeling utter revulsion at how thoughtless they were.
I decided I’d had enough and began to walk back to my car. I couldn’t help but pass by the first memorial set up by the river. I stopped, watching a young boy place a basket of flowers by yet another Christmas tree. There was a little girl standing in front of me with her mom. Once again, I started to sob. I was embarrassed to do it in front of a stranger, but she quickly turned to me and said;
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I met the child who drew the sign in the middle of the image that says; “May God Protect You.”
We hugged and I thanked her. I asked her about her children and found out she lives here in town, too.
I gave the woman my card and invited to her visit. I told her I needed to find some teachers so I could donate this load of plush kitties we’d been donated. I was so happy to imagine I could help these people that as I began the walk back to my car I was smiling, even though my heart was still heavy.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hug a Teacher and hug everyone else, too.
We just have to learn to be better about expressing it and sharing it and instead of being more fearful of each other, I think we need to open our arms and really help each other. We have to remember to love each other, especially those of us who get labeled as “misfits” or “social outcasts.” We all just want to belong and I think in feeling left out it is so painful that it becomes too tempting for some of us to act out in rage as a result.
I got back into my car and drove to NVS. I paid Shorty’s bill and met this cat who was very close to being euthanized. Now Shorty had a new lease on life thanks to our donors and my late night efforts. Shorty rolled around on the floor, with the catheter sticking out of his front leg. I rubbed his belly, then I noticed something odd. He was leaking tapeworms out of his rear end.
And yes, get Shorty de-wormed, stat..