My heart is filled with compassion and empathy today for the families and friends having to say good-bye to their loved ones in Newtown, Connecticut. Their lives were irrevocably changed on 12/14/12 and many hearts are deeply hurting. There are not words enough to ease their pain and grief. I can only send all the love and light I can muster.
As a human, as someone who has lost loved ones in sudden and unexpected ways, I feel deeply for these families and friends of those who died in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. As a therapist, I want to go and offer support to those who witnessed and lived through this event, knowing how their lives where also irrevocably changed.
I have read only a select few news articles on this event in Newtown. I have not watched any news reports or videos of the day. I heard about it on Facebook. The majority of the information I have on this event came from social media. I have seen and read hundreds of Facebook posts about the event and people’s reactions to it. I have seen shock, pain, love, disbelief, anger, compassion, fear, and feelings of helplessness in the posts of family, friends, acquaintances, and others on Facebook.
I find myself awake early on this morning, the day after this sudden and violent event. My feelings are mixed and jumbled and complex. I understand the grief that people are feeling. The desire to reach out to those affected by yesterday’s event as well as the desire to lash out at the man whose actions created this situation. Part of me wants to lash out as well, to rage against guns and violence and the actions of this man, Adam Lanza.
But I find myself unable to. My heart aches with sadness and compassion for him as well. I can only imagine how unloved, how broken and damaged, how worthless a person must feel to carry out the acts that he did on 12/14/12. How much pain and self-hate must fester under the anger and violence he felt for him to pick up those guns and start shooting?
I want to say to him, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I failed you. I’m sorry that I did not and do not always see the beauty and perfection and value of each and every person on this planet. I’m sorry that I did not find a way to communicate love and value and worth to each and every person I have met or been in contact with. I am sorry that I have not told each and every person how perfect and complete and whole they are.”
I believe that if each and every person truly knew and understood how much love and value and perfection and worth they have in, through, and as them for no other reason than that they exist – if we all truly believe that about ourselves – there would be no violence, no shootings, no lashing out at each other. If we all felt truly loved and valuable and worthy and whole, we could never bring ourselves to lash out at others around us.
And so on this morning with all these feelings and thoughts and complexity swirling within me, I ask myself this:
“How can I love more? What can I do to ensure that no person will ever feel so damaged or so broken or so unloved that they would feel capable to carry out these acts? What can I do to ensure that each and every person feels loved, that each person feels how valuable and worthy they are? How can I honor those who left this life that day by demonstrating more love, more peace, and more compassion?”
I believe asking myself those questions and acting on the answers I find is what will prevent more events such as this one. It is not someone else’s responsibility. It is mine. I will not lash out in anger. I will not hate. I will not look to punish. Not even Adam Lanza.
I will love. I will communicate compassion. I will promote peace. I will value myself and others. I will reach out. I will love. Even Adam Lanza.