Comfort, Joy and Sandy Hook

English: Photo of the Reverend Thomas Teasdale...

English: Photo of the Reverend Thomas Teasdale monument in Friendship Cemetery, in the city of Columbus, Mississippi. The monument is an example of the “Angle of Grief” or “Weeping Angel.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It felt strange this weekend to read the influx of holiday cards with messages of Peace, Joy, Love and Miracles. The cards lay on the table next to the front page of the newspaper splashed with headlines of Horror, Fear and Grief.

By now, we all know the story of how a 20-year-old man used his mother’s guns to shoot her in the face, then drove her car to an elementary school and killed 20 first-graders and seven adults. We are all searching for the answer to the question, “Why?” to explain the incomprehensible. The events are confusing, sad and complicated.

There are many prisms through which this tragedy is being viewed and analyzed, from the obvious — access to combat arms – to the more subtle workings of a disturbed mind.  We write our blog about the everyday worries of frazzled moms, including fear for our children’s well-being. You can bet that shooter Adam Lanza’s mom was beyond frazzled dealing with a mentally ill child.

It is painful to think about the parents in Newtown, Connecticut frantically waiting for news about the fate of their loved ones in the hours after the shooting. The image of families being isolated to receive the news, followed by wails that could be heard outside the building is not easily forgotten.

The magnitude makes us numb.

A line from the old Christmas Carol, God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, kept popping into my head as I wondered where in the aftermath families would find “…tidings of comfort and joy.”

I found some solace reflecting on the actions of three extraordinary brave women at Sandy Hook Elementary. The school’s principal and psychiatrist were killed trying to tackle the gunman. A 27-year-old teacher was slaughtered when she hid her pupils in a closet and told the gunman the students were in the gym. The  students survived. It is horrible that the families of these adults will also be grieving but astonishing to see humanity rise to such a level in the split seconds when it really mattered.

A former family babysitter, Megan Hinde, is now a young mother and elementary school teacher. After cuddling with her two-year-old Sunday evening, she posted, “I am hoping that all parents out there know that I, along with ALL other teachers, have and will always have the safety of your child as our top priority.” Tidings of comfort and joy.

For further reading:

Mothering a mentally ill child: I am Adam Lanza’s Mother

Coping with fear over a child’s safety:  Let Go and Live

Mother of a murdered child: Mother of the Tried

Helping Children Cope with the News: How to Help Children Cope with a Crisis

Carol Lewis Gullstad December 17, 2012


  1. Thank you for including the link to “I am Adam Lanza’s mother”. As the mother of a child diagnosed with autism, the attention this particular disorder is receiving at the expense of the real problem is frightening to me. My child is not violent — in fact, he is quite the opposite. I fear a backlash against children like him. I pray every day not only for the families who lost children that day but for Adam Lanza’s brother, who lost both his mother and his brother. Nobody seems to be paying any attention to the devastation he must be facing.

  2. Carrie Lovsted says:

    Today I am so sad for all the parents and I just can’t seem to figure out how to reach out and help the parents and families at Sandy Hook. If anyone knows a way to send cards or reach out and help please send a note!
    I also called our schools to voice my concerns about security in our schools on MI. I feel MI is much like Sandy Hook, a small tight community that could never imagine this happening. It felt good to pray at church yesterday for the families but I do think this is also a call to action! Gun laws need to be put into place, schools need to have security and we need to just love our kids everyday!!

    • Tthe United Way of Western Connecticut has established a Sandy Hook school support fund to provide support services for families in the area: The scary part is that Sandy Hook did have more security than most elementary schools but the shooter broke in. It is a complicated puzzle that involves access to both mental health care as well as assault weapons.


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