Skip to content
January 9, 2013 / Rabbi Laura

Broken Dreams of Safety

We were all devastated by the events of December 14th in
Newtown. Who couldn’t have been? I have to admit, that as a mother
of a teen and a post-teen (he’s 20), I was shaken but not nearly as
much as I was by 9/11 when my boys were younger and in elementary
school. I suppose I should be just as nervous with my boys both on
university campuses each day. Our universities haven’t been
immune to gun violence in recent years. My sister, who has a
daughter in Kindergarten and a preschooler, shared with me last
week that she is still shaken by the Sandy Hook Elementary
shootings. She is nervous every time her children are out of
her sight. Other friends have shared similar lingering
reactions. This week was hard for everyone, with the end of winter
vacation and the return to school. My dear friend Gabrielle
took a moment to put her feelings to words on Monday, as she sent
her 7 year old – and my godson – back to school. broken dreams

Broken Dreams
of Safety – Gabrielle

Today, January 7, 2013,
I dropped my son off at school for his first day back to first
grade after winter break. The Friday of his last day of school on
December 14, 2012, was a day many of us remember with horror. 27
murdered. 20 first graders slain. While my child sang, “Mele
Kelikimaka” at the holiday show at his school, some first graders
from another school never came home. The day for them started out
just as ours did, but ended in devastation. Today, the principal
tried to comfort us. “From now on the gates will be locked all day.
Police will visit campus daily.” But, I look at his beautiful
school, surrounded by exposed fences, and I am less than comforted.
As I walk past the police officer, I feel no ease, but rather the
sick realization that this is only a weak attempt to pacify our
anxiety. I don’t blame the principal, the police officer, nor the
LAUSD superintendent. No one can allay our fears today. Because
what happened in Newtown was not supposed to happen. It was not the
result of lax security. It was the stuff of our deepest nightmares.
photoDuring this winter break,
my first grader turned 7. My heart ached for the mothers who would
not be able to celebrate their child’s
7th birthday. Those mothers were robbed
of 20 mischievous smiles, whiny frowns, snuggly mornings, and
sugared up frenzies. The innocence of my son’s youth, as we
celebrated one more year of his life, was more poignant this year,
a bitter sweetness. I grasped to capture his essence, trying to
make up for the loss of so many others. Attempting to make sense of
this tragedy is like believing that our children are safe because a
police officer makes a symbolic visit and the school gates are
locked all day. The reality is harsh and cold: we can love and
protect our children only so much, and then they go out to the
world. We want to believe that our world is full of wonder and
beauty. But, excruciatingly we learn, it is also filled with
horrors. As I drive away from campus, my heart is suspended. I
place my right palm on my cheek. My 7 year old kissed my hand this
morning and asked me to hold his kiss all day. If only I could hold
him and keep him truly safe. ; ;

One Comment

  1. Marilyn / Jan 9 2013 7:36 pm


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: