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Samhain Horror Gift Cards

When Words Fail

By On Dec 17 2012, 4:29 pm

Just hours after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a fan wrote to me and asked if I found it hard to write horror novels when tragedies like this surround us more and more. At the time, I was watching the news unfold with my wife, who was in tears, and my chest felt too tight to even speak. My daughters are teens who normally walk home from school, but I was preparing to get in the car and pick them up. We wanted them home, in our arms, without delay.

Before I left, I replied that at this moment, I couldn’t conceive of anything horror-genre related, much less write it. True horrors like the events at Sandy Hook steal from the limited store of beats for my heart and melt the edges of my spirit. This entire weekend, I’ve found it hard to think of anything short of the love of my family as urgent, or important, or pressing. Nothing else has mattered. The stress of the Christmas season seems so trivial when there are families with one less little one to share on the sacred day.

For now, the wound is too fresh, too painful, to live life the way we had before 9:35am ET on Friday. This week, try as I might, will not be business as usual. The sadness, anger, and sense of loss will come in waves as it has done over the past 60 hours. The worst part is the feeling of helplessness. There’s nothing we can do now to bring those children and teachers back. No fund raiser, no prayer vigil, no government assistance can take away our grief or repair the lives of those directly affected by one man’s barbaric act.

What hurts so much this time is the pure innocence that was taken from every child, alive or not, from Sandy Hook. Two days later, it’s still impossible to comprehend. Words have failed us. Even as a writer, I feel clumsy and inadequate in my attempt to sort things out.

I know that the passage of time will eventually knit our nation’s broken heart. I remember watching the towers burning on 9/11 from my window, wondering for two days if one of my best friends was alive or dead .  We walked and worked in a fugue state for months. But eventually, we did recover. Chores were done. Bills were paid. Families bickered over breakfast. Car horns blared in crowded streets. We became ourselves again, warts and all.

As I write this, I can hear my daughters talking to my wife in the next room, laughing with one another. I count my blessings, and offer my prayers to those whose houses won’t have these moments in the coming days, weeks and beyond. May the children and teachers of Sandy Hook rest in peace and in the loving arms of a God who called them home for Christmas.

Comments

6 Responses to “When Words Fail”

  1. Jack Campisi says:

    Hard to find words at a time like this. Thanks for yours, Hunter. Well said.

  2. Renae says:

    This is a lovely piece, Hunter. Thank you.

  3. [...] It’s been a very strange week here in NY & CT where I live and work. We’re all trying to get in the holiday spirit, but the unthinkable events at Sandy Hook Elementary are never far from our thoughts. I had to write a blog of my publisher’s website on Monday. Hardest thing I ever had to write. You can read it here. [...]

  4. Who can not be moved by the horror and then outpouring of love nd support for the victims in Newtown Conn. Prayers are with everyone.
    I hope we can put in some sensible gun controls. We are the only civiized western nation where it is so easy to get guns. It is a wake-up call for change.

  5. Beautiful post. So hard to understand. As a mother of a child in Kindergarten, in 3rd grade, and in 7th, it has been hard to send my 2 youngest especially. Tim and I look at our 5 year old and just cry. Tear up at the thought of losing her to something like this. She laughs and dances around and has no idea she needs to live in fear at all. It hits us hard and we must all seek to bring compassion to the world. Leavr the horror for books, not real life.

  6. Margaret says:

    I can not even imagine how those poor children who survived this ordeal are going to be able to go back to school without feeling terror and panic. for all those lost in this terrible tragedy it is hard to phantom the loss of the families and all involved. Your words have put it in very good perspective for my feelings also. As you Said “What hurts so much this time is the pure innocence that was taken from every child, alive or not, from Sandy Hook.” Prayers for all of us who have been directly or indirectly involved in this terrible tragedy.

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