Living life after tragedy interrupts

It was the shoes that got me.

The day after my dad died suddenly of a stroke, I was wandering my parents’ house, unsure of what to do. I found myself standing by the front door, confused and sleep deprived.

And then my eyes settled on my father’s shoes.

They were there by the front door, waiting for his feet.

Feet that weren’t coming back.

This evidence of an interrupted life shook me to my core. I started wandering through the house as I sobbed and noticed all the other minutia of daily life that my dad wasn’t coming home to.

The note on the table my mom left him – “don’t forget the dry cleaning.”

His dirty dishes in the sink.

His reading glasses on a table.

Everything was right where he had left it. Because my dad hadn’t planned on dying that evening before.

I keep thinking of this day as I grieve for the children and teachers of Sandy Hook. And I can’t stop thinking about all those interrupted lives.

I’m thinking about the parents and family members walking around their homes, unable to look at anything around them without seeing their child’s toys, their mother’s clothes, their wife’s hastily scribbled grocery list.

I feel dazed, unfocused, and desperately sad. It’s not the same for me as when my dad died, but there sure are some similarities.

Yet I have to pull myself together and keep going.

Life is calling.

I have two girls who need me. Daughters I can hug and love and giggle with and even yell at when they deserve it.

I have a husband who is an amazing human being, a fabulous father, and a pretty darn awesome companion.

And I have to give myself permission to keep living. To enjoy what I have. To celebrate the holidays with joy. Just as I had to after my dad died.

Nicole Knepper reminded us on her blog of these wise words from Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore:

โ€œHappiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.โ€

It’s okay to be completely devastated by what happened in Sandy Hook, Nicole says. But it’s also okay to be happy and appreciate your life and your family.

So, yes, I will grieve for the loss of life in Sandy Hook. I will find my own way to honor those lives lost. And I will pray.

But I will also let myself live. And smile. And enjoy life.

Because I am lucky enough that I can.


I’m praying for you, Sandy Hook. All the deceased, their families and friends, the survivors, the first responders, the whole town. All of you.

photo credit: cindy47452 via photopin cc

I’m linking up with Shell and her “Pour Your Heart Out” linkup today, 12/19. Check out Shell’s post and all the other great blog posts on Shell’s blog here.


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21 Replies to “Living life after tragedy interrupts”

  1. Thank you for the lovely quote and the sentiments. I can’t seem to stop thinking about Sandy Hook…half way across the country– while my little ones want me to be present to them. Right here, Right now. I need permission to enjoy them.

    1. I can’t stop either, Christie. I just looked in at my sleeping 4yo, cuddling with her doll, and smiled – but also blinked away tears for those parents in Sandy Hook who can’t do the same anymore. And then I think of the teachers and principal, who had five kids … oh, it’s on my mind all the time. But my kids thankfully know nothing about Sandy Hook, and all they know is they want to have fun with their mama. And their need for me actually helps normalize things, you know?

  2. I may be continents away, but this event has hit me hard. It’s all over Facebook and I can’t help but cry every time I see another photo or read one more story about it. The only comfort is that they are all now in Heaven and will never have to face terror again.

  3. I feel a kinship – my dad died of a stroke, too, but he was 92, so his death wasn’t as devastating to me. It was my sister that undid me – she was only 56 and my best friend. I try to live as she would have wanted – full of fun and love and zest – rather than wallowing in the pain of missing her. I have to admit that some days I wallow a bit. But mostly not. Big hugs to you as you live your life.

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