Teaching How to Live After Tragedy

I had intended to share my year in food, the highs and lows. The hits and misses that occur in my kitchen. I thought it would be funny. Somehow, it seems like a year has passed since I wrote that column and prepared to send it off, but it has only been a week or so. Sometimes life’s events dictate that you change course and refocus.


I didn’t hear about what happened on Friday December 14th until I was on my way home from work. Thankfully we were shielded from that information and since I do not sit behind a computer all day I didn’t see it come across the internet. I am fortunate in that my kids saw a movie after school with their father and they also do not have access to the internet without going through me.

They were blissfully unaware of the events at Sandy Hook all weekend until my husband and I told them together on Sunday. I felt that was the way it should be. We wanted to make sure this was something they heard from us, to give them a measure of security. Well, as much as you can as a parent I guess.

We told them what happened in as much detail as they needed to know, answered their questions and explained to them that they are safe. We didn’t want them to leave the house the next day holding their breath and waiting for something to occur around the corner. We reassured them that as parents we cannot be with them all of the time but what we can do is make sure that they are in the safest environments possible at all times. We couldn’t not control the actions of others but WE could control where they are and who they are with, for the most part.

I told them that if I had worries about their safety, which I don’t, I would say something. I would become involved. As a parent we are our child best and most important advocate. We ended our talk by reminding them of 2 things: there were so many people that stepped in to help these children that day and our boys know so many people who would do that when we were not there to take care of them. Lastly, I wanted them to know that every day we have together is worth something. Every experience, every laugh, school event, every meal and every bedtime story. These are the events that weave the tapestry of their lives.


I don’t want them to live in fear of the unknown rather, I want them to prepare that it can happen. Anywhere and at any time. We just had to trust that it won’t and continue to live our lives. They were both so sad for the lives lost and like many children are they are at a loss as to what they can do. I told them to remember. Remember that these people did count and use that to make each day they spend just a bit more meaningful because it is a gift.

I am not sure if this is the right thing, as a parent there is certainly no handbook for these kinds of things. But what I can do is make every day count, make our seemingly insignificant experiences matter.


  1. says

    Heather, your approach sounded like a loving way to teach important lessons about life, love, and family. Very well handled! Your boys are blessed to have you for a Mama. Merry Christmas to you & your family!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge