My heart is broken.
As I left the teacher's lounge late Friday morning, I had my Weight Watchers' microwave meal balanced precariously on a stack of papers from my mailbox. The plastic container was too hot for me to hold. The principal walked past me, her eyes clearly reddened from recent tears. I paused, wondering if I should ask if everything is okay, but didn't want to pry in case it was something personal. A few steps past me, she turned and asked me if I'd heard the news about the school shooting.
Sherri filled me in with what she knew - a shooter had killed children and teachers at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. There were at least seventeen kids dead. An elementary school. The noise from the chatter of the teachers in the lounge faded as my stomach filled with grief.
"I'm not going to tell the teachers right now," Sherri said. I nodded, numbly, and began to walk back to my office. When I got there, I logged onto a news site and watched the coverage, taking slow bites of the tasteless food. The only urge I had was to go and pick up my kids and hold them close.
This one hits so close to home. I work at an elementary school. My children are almost school age. We have the same safety precautions at our school that Sandy Hook has. I just can't wrap my head around it.
I seem to have become slightly obsessive about it. I've been reading news article after news article. I imagine what those last moments must have been like for those children. I imagine if I were a teacher there or if I were in the office when the shooter got in or if I were the parent of one of the children that died or if I just lived in the community or.... My mind reels at the ripple effect that this type of thing has.
I have to go back to work tomorrow. As the counselor, I am the one who is supposed to know what to say and how to deal with these types of things. I'll be the one to talk to the kids who are scared or help the teachers know what to say... I guess that as we all are falling apart individually, we'll try to hold each other together and hopefully manage some type of normalcy.
My head realizes that the chances of something like this occurring are more rare than the chance that I'll win the lottery. My heart says that even that remote chance is way too high.