As Friday's terrible news unfolded in Connecticut, I tried like the rest of the world to make some sense of it. And I failed.
Yes, I thought, as each person conveyed their horror, sadness, and desire to hold their children and wrap them in a bubble.
Yes, I thought, as people railed against those who believe any form of gun restrictions are unconstitutional.
Yes, I thought, at those who said more support is needed for the mentally ill.
I felt numb. And I realized I wasn't letting my mind go to those 20 little faces whose lives ended so abruptly.
Initially, I watched for every Twitter update from news organizations, obsessively refreshed our AP updates, sat in the parking lot listening to interviews with those covering the tragedy.
All I could think about were the parents racing to that school, hoping and praying that their child wasn’t hurt, or worse - but not wanting it to be their best friend either.
And feel rage at the men, mentally ill or not, who can’t seem to find any other way out of their problems than to kill the most innocent of people.
I mourned with colleagues who, like me, have friends and relatives who are teachers. Somehow they've become first responders to violence.
But at some point, my mind said, "No more." I had to turn away - probably around the point where I read that one witness had heard 100 shots. I knew what that meant.
Every time my heart starts to process a shooting in a first-grade classroom, and that feeling rises in my throat, my brain stops me.
Maybe it's because our family is a bit bruised by other events this fall. Or maybe it's just like a friend put it so well on Facebook yesterday: this story is for those with younger hearts and stronger stomachs than mine.
That wall will crumble at some point. Probably when we start seeing the names and faces of those sweet 6-year-olds who will never make it to 9 or 12, my children's ages.
Like everyone else, I hugged my children a bit longer last night. I fell asleep with my arm around my daughter. I thanked God for each day I've had with them and prayed for many more to come.
But I have nothing original to say, except I want someone, somewhere to find an answer to this. And I’m pretty sure concealed weapons aren’t the solution, unless we want to start arming schoolchildren.
What is it going to take? Twenty first-graders.
(I wrote this when initial reports indicated the victims were in kindergarten. We've since learned that most were first-graders - no less horrific. The text has been corrected. -- Julie)
In the meantime, wise moms have written words that have helped me. Here are a few:
And Twitter friends @stephdavidson and @EagletTrioMama shared some tips for talking with your children about a crisis:
Please add any links you find helpful, too.
Julie Wurth writes and blog about kids and families for The News-Gazette.