The media is suffocating, clogging the roads and parking lots with bright lights and satellite dishes and polished professionals putting on too much makeup in their caravans before venturing out to stick a camera in our weary faces.
But I don’t want them to go away.
Because as hard as it is to see my quiet sleepy town on the 24 hour news cycle, it is far far worse to turn on the television … or twitter or facebook … and not see it. To see life resume, with Christmas specials and NFL games and reality shows that in no way mirror the nightmare we who call Newtown home are living. I don’t want people to think the hurting is over, because it’s only just begun.
We can’t change the channel. We can’t resume regular scheduled programming.
The memorials loom large on street corners, schools, firehouses, and churches. Tear stained faces sob from grocery store aisles. No one is merry and bright.
When you watch the news, you’re seeing my friends, family, and neighbors. You see, I know these dead kids. I know these dead teachers. I know the survivors and first responders. We all do. It’s why we live here: we made our home in a town where everybody knows everybody, and that happens here every day, and now on the darkest days.
The texts and emails rolled in from afar …“OMG! Newtown! Did you know anybody?”
This is Newtown. We know everybody.
We are connected, we are strong, and everyone who lives here knows we are never alone. But far too many of my friends and neighbors are quite distinctly separate now. They experienced a grief that I can’t begin to fathom: because my family came home.
I am used to juggling December with work and games and holiday concerts and shopping. I am not used to trying to fit so many funerals and wakes into such a short period of time, while trying desperately to reassure my kids and husband that everything is going to be okay. Because I am not so sure it is.
*I used to write this blog anonymously: small town, small state. No longer. Please read back thru to see a somewhat accurate, yet often snarky, picture of “before” … before you all knew the place I love to call home: Newtown, Connecticut.