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What It Was Like Living in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012

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My day started like all others and ended like none before or since.

It was little voices waking me way too early.

It was cozy Christmas books before the fireplace, cups of cocoa in three pairs of tiny hands.

It was homeschool math at the dining table when the frantic call from a neighbor comes.

It was certainty that it’s all a misunderstanding, then seeing our town plastered on every headline.

It was shock and relief that my three babes hadn’t walked into Sandy Hook Elementary that morning, followed by survivor’s guilt and what-if’s on replay.

It was a military helicopter overhead, a tank patrolling our rural street.

It was shielding our children from the news while fielding non-stop messages from friends and family.

It was police cars guarding certain driveways, the visible sign of an invisible, all-consuming heartbreak.

It was climbing into bed smothered by grief, shadows of evil hovering in the atmosphere.

It was the advent of a horrific new normal, an identity no town ever wants forced upon us.

10 years later, December 2022:

I enter the dark room my two boys share, now 18 and 17. We have to be up early so I perch on the edge of a bed.

I take a moment to marvel at them - countenances in sleep still reminiscent of their baby faces years ago.

Wonder fills my heart, followed by a familiar pang for mothers nearby who won’t see their child’s face again this side of heaven.

Our stories differ, but those of us in Newtown nurse a collective wound that began 10 years ago. It rips open when we drive pass certain buildings, see certain faces, hear certain songs.

Its weight is both a burden and a privilege. We’d never want to forget those we lost, but remembering hurts.

We can’t have one without also having the other. Here in Newtown, it’s our sacred ache.💔🙏


To read my initial tribute to Newtown written in 2012, head to

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