Minutes, Hours, Days, Months, Years: A Lifetime

Black and white photo of a flag lowered to half mast with a church tower in the background and the words Love Wins in script on the left side

Ten years ago today 26 people, children and educators, died at Sandy Hook school.

My nephew was a second grader at Sandy Hook that day. He survived, but his life was forever changed.

Today, my nephew is a senior. My son, only 3 months younger than my nephew, is a junior. He would have been in first grade that day. If we had lived in Sandy Hook instead of my brother, we would almost certainly not be sending him to school to take a math test and struggle through an English class today. My daughter is in second grade, just as my nephew was 10 years ago. I walked her to school this morning and hugged her extra tight as I watched her walk through the school gates.

I remember every December 14th.

And we are a family of survivors.

Grief and trauma touch so many of us in so many ways that are often unseen and unknown.

We were “lucky” on December 14th.

But “unlucky” on February 3, 1995, when my mother was killed in an accident crossing the street from our house.

I survived, but my life was forever changed.

Today, I am not as prolific as I have been on December 14th in the past. I am tired.

In a few minutes, I will have a call with a faculty member who has a student who lost two close family members within weeks of one another this semester. And I will somehow need to bridge a communication gap which was created by a gulf of grief. The faculty member has done everything “right” with documentation and with intended care, but the student has been struggling with grief, in ways that as a fellow griever, I feel deeply. The facts are the same, but the lived experiences, lenses, and impact differ. How do I make space for it all when my heart hurts so much, when I am so very tired?

I don’t know.

But, this morning, I received word that my latest piece, “Making Space for Ourselves, Making Space for Each Other: Humanizing Practices in the ELA Classroom & Teacher Education” was published. My writer self reminds me that part of trauma-informed teacher education is always making space for ourselves and one another, is remembering our own humanity, on days like these.

That is the best I can do.

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