Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just Pray For Us

At the Sandy Hook memorial site
I love my adopted state--Connecticut. Whenever I get lost driving through our meandering rural back roads, I just shrug my shoulders and enjoy the view. There are stone walls and babbling brooks that weave through dense woods. There are quaint colonial buildings and white-steeple churches that overlook town greens. Newtown is a quintessential Connecticut village nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains.

Since I moved to Connecticut in 1995, I knew many couples with young children that bought homes in Newtown just because of its family-oriented community and outstanding school system. While Gold Coast towns such as Greenwich and Westport have always gotten national recognition, Newtown has long been Connecticut's best-kept secret.

So it was heartbreaking today when I visited this Norman Rockwell-like town that is wrapped in a black cloak of grief. As soon as I passed the Newtown sign, a police motorcade came trailing down the hill toward me. It was followed by a silver hearse and a long funeral procession of cars.  It reminded me that I have a co-worker who lost her daughter in this tragedy and her funeral is this Thursday.

Newtown has this signature huge flagpole that stands in the middle of the road at the beginning of Main Street. Today the flag was at half-staff, flapping in the wind against a dreary gray sky. The church's white steeple stood at watch.

As soon as I reached the flagpole I took a right on to Route 6 and wound down the hill toward Newtown's municipality, Sandy Hook. That's when I saw Saint Rose of Lima church with a black hearse parked at the entrance. A woman was walking along the road with tissues in both hands sobbing uncontrollably.

Then I came to the Sandy Hook memorial. There were candles, flowers and heartfelt messages piled one on top of the other. There were two christmas trees with ornaments that had the fallen children's names etched upon them.  And there were the Comfort dogs. Golden retrievers, Chase, Libby and Tillie were on duty when I was there. The sadness at that site hung heavy in the air.

Funeral procession on Main Street, Newtown
I placed a candle and card into the mass of other messages. I felt so helpless, because like so many others, there was absolutely nothing I could do to help ease this grieving community's pain. So I got in my car and headed back home. As a I crossed the Newtwon border line into Monroe, there was a sign by the road. It had a simple message: Just Pray For Us.

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