So Much Sorrow

By Kate Riley December 15, 2012

newtown candleYesterday was really hard for me.  I spent the morning volunteering at my kids’ elementary school like I do every Friday, loving their bright eyes and flushed cheeks so filled with the excitement of the season. 

On the way home I heard the breaking news on the Newtown shooting.  Horror and heartbreak do not begin to describe the feelings I have and I’m sure you all feel too.  I couldn’t concentrate all day, I couldn’t feel anything but shock followed by deep sorrow.  For the children, the families, the responders, their town, and our country.

I had planned to share some lovely things, links, and ideas yesterday, but they all seemed so trivial given the news of the day.  And yet I know we all have to get back to work, go back to school, get back to our lives, and do what we can to love one another and be a light in this world. 

I am the mother of elementary school children in a small town like Newtown, where the community is tight, the parents all know each other, and we care deeply for each other’s children.  The thought of the families that are suffering is overwhelming, and I can’t bring myself to talk about anything merry when there is such sadness.

I’m spending the weekend holding my family a little tighter, recognizing that loving them, and having their love is a million times more important than anything material.  Newtown, you are in my prayers.  May God’s grace bring healing and peace to us all.


  1. Thank you Kate for such a touching post today. The sorrow reaches into Canada and the world beyond. The loss of these precious children and adults is something we will never understand. Sending sympathy and prayers for strength, hope, and healing from the North.

  2. Thanks kate, I couldn’t have said it better myself. My heart breaks for all involved, especially the families. Such a sad tragedy. Will continue to pray for healing and peace.

  3. I am a teacher. I spent yesterday torn between wanting to hug my students and lock the classroom door and then wanting to run to my own children’s elementary school and hug them and never let go. Schools should be sacred; children are sacred. The people of Newtown are certainly in everyone’s prayers.

  4. It is so horrific, there are just no words. Thank you for this sensitive and thoughtful post that acknowledges the terrible loss and grief we are all experiencing today. Praying for peace and healing to the families and community of Newtown who have lost so much.

  5. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking.. Thinking that many families have held their child for the last time, without knowing it and their arms are now empty. My heart just breaks. I know though, that they are now beautiful Angel’s singing in Heaven with no pain or sorrow. Someday we hope we all can meet in our Heavenly home across the bridge-less river. My prayers are with all those in Newtown and the families.

  6. I was so shocked to hear the news here in the UK. What a tragic thing to have happened to the innocent. My thoughts are with those who’ve lost.

  7. I have been watching the horrible story unfold on our news stations in England. Though we are separated by an ocean, we are united as parents in our heartbreak for all those affected. I have small children myself and I cannot begin to comprehend the pain that the people of Newtown are experiencing. I will keep them in my prayers.


  8. I really appreciate the fact that you posted about this incident and digressed for the sake of humanity. I love that Americans can instantly bond and support one another in times of tragic and unexpected travesties, but it saddens me when we, Americans, can only do that when it’s an American travesty. Innocent kids are just that, regardless of their nationality and country they reside in, and yet we don’t really “care” when American drones kill hundreds of Pakistani kids at school/home, or Yemeni kids at school/home. I won’t even mention Palestine, because there is no humanity on that subject just politics. (sorry for the sarcasm). Please don’t be upset with me or shun me for saying this, but humanity does not discriminate and yet we, Americans, only find the suffering of our own important. On this day I morn the loss of all kids shot to death, be it by the mentally ill and the unjust governments of the world.

  9. I feel the same. I can’t stop crying and I don’t know how to get over the fear of sending my children to school on Monday. This fills me with so much sadness and terror.

  10. It stopped me in my tracks. I was busily making, crafting, baking… And turned the news on and the world stopped. All I could think last night…those empty beds… Parents left with no one to tuck in. I actually felt guilty for being able to watch my kids sleep peacefully. Tears…and prayers for those friends in Newtown.

  11. Oh Kate, what a horrible tragedy! I wanted to take my babies out of school as soon as I heard the news. I can’t imagine. Those poor babies, the pain and fear they must have felt. Their poor parents. The brave school staff. I didn’t sleep well last night and doubt I will today, either. Hugs to you and yours, my friend.

  12. @Debora, Thank you for eloquently stating the truth! Tragedy occurs everywhere. Innocent children are dying everyday in all parts of the world. It’s a sad, sad situation.

  13. Yes, I agree, the pretty and the sparkle seem dull in comparison to the importance of turning our thoughts and our hearts to those suffering families and their community. Life can go on for us, but for them this day will remain frozen in time. What a complete heartbreak it is to know that.

  14. Very well said.. my heart broke when I heard of the news and when I thought this is the bottom.. later that evening I heard 22 children in China were stabbed. I couldn’t breathe or stop crying.

  15. Thank you, Kate! I was so warmed to see the candle posted, as I instantly knew that someone was recognizing the horror, honoring the babies lost and the beautiful teachers. I live in CT, not close to Newtown, but I know the area well having worked there many years ago. It’s a wonderful, even idealic southern New England town, one that anybody would be thankful to live in. I feel sick to my stomach, my eyes are burning and I have not slept. It’s comforting to know that others are feeling the pain and greiving with us. Keep those prayers coming for the families who ultimately must deal with the greatest of all pain – alone.

  16. I haven’t rested. Nightmares kept me up all night. We are all grieving at this hour. Our niche is trivial but we also celebrate the beauty of creativity God has instilled each of us. “There is a time for everything,…..a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” Ecclesiastes 4:4. We respectfully pause this weekend and will pull ourselves up next week and celebrate the One who came to conquer the evil we’ve just witnessed.

  17. Kate…it was a difficult day for me as well. I am still reeling today, as I’m sure most people are. I keep wondering how those poor suffering parents and families will ever emerge from such darkness. There will be laughter again, we will get back to work, and the gaping hole will eventually close, but for now, I think we’re all seeking comfort from each other and sharking our feelings. I take comfort in the fact that most people are empathetic and caring.

  18. This is why I love your blog. I feel like I know you because you are so willing to share your thoughts. Do you have any ideas on how we could reach out and help the teachers and children heal?

    My prayers continue for all affected by this tragedy.

  19. Thanks Kate for taking time to share what is truly important. My heart breaks for those babies and their parents whose grief has only begun.
    There has to be a way to control this madness.

  20. I found church to be quite comforting tonight. We corporately prayed for comfort, strength and peace for all those involved! We also prayed that something good would come out of this tragedy. Pastor reminded us that the Light of the World pushes back the darkness and evil and evil has ultimately been defeated. Should anyone be interested, tonight’s service will be online on Tuesday. The Crossing is a non-denominational church in St. Louis and I think you will find what Greg has to say as very comforting.

  21. Thank you for your post. I pray that our country will come together and unite. Those beautiful children deserve that from us all.

  22. Las noticias llegaron impactantes y comparto ese sentimiento tuyo de tristeza, también a este otro lado del mundo lo sentimos profundamente , nuestras oraciones para esas familias que hoy le toca vivir momentos por demás difíciles, un abrazo.

  23. Thanks, Kate, as your posts are always! Thank you for acknowledging the pain so many of us are feeling.

  24. Thank you for your post Kate. You are right about it all.

    This might help those who worry and are sad

    –for how to talk to your children about this terrible tragedy, for children sensitive about other children dying whether they know them personally or not… “In speaking to children….”

    –for a time-tested and gentle post-trauma recovery list, “If you are hurting from the shock of a sudden tragedy, this is written for you. I’m a Psychoanalyst and Specialist in Critical Incident and Post Trauma Recovery, who developed psychological recovery protocol Armenian earthquake rescue, served at Columbine High School and community for three years after the massacre, and still work with 9-11 survivor families on both US coasts….”

  25. I thought I was doing…well…at least keeping it all together and then this evening I watched more news. Robby Parker spoke about his daughter, Emilie who was 6. I lost it. How that man ever was able to do that I don’t know. I went to her Facebook page and looked at her pictures. Needless to say it is 6:30 am and I haven’t been to bed yet. Once I saw the faces, I just lost it. Most of the time up until then, the news people kept speculating, couldn’t get things straight and giving wrong information.

  26. Here in Israel identify with the pain of the American people.
    Trying to live their daily life and routine … Then comes the chaos and destruction … in the form of a high school student or a suicide bomber …
    We all live in the same world … and we all want peace ..
    Good Week

  27. We were all shocked to hear these horrific news here in our small country Greece. So shocked of how one man can cause so much evil to innocent souls,innocent children. My thoughts are with those families who are in pain. May they find comfort soon and may these children be the last victims of madness and evil. Never again such pain.

  28. We feel your grief, even from as far away as Australia, and we grieve with you and for the families, and community of Newtown. Look to the future for ways to stop this from ever happening again. Stay positive that change will save lives. My thoughts are with you all. heather x

  29. I had a post to do on Friday…but I when I post, my heart is happy…I feel joy…however, there was no joy in my heart that day…the sorrow was overwhelming…So I closed my computer…My heart was happy when I was finally able to hear my granddaughter’s laughter that afternoon…I cannot stop thinking about those innocent “babies”…it is beyond comprehension….I pray for the families…I cannot imagine what they are going through….the grief..the pain..

  30. As a Canadian these school murders in the USA are always a point of horror and anger for me; a sense of “what the hell do people expect?” Gun restriction laws and tough enforcement are the only way to go. No child needs to be brought-up learning to shoot. What the heck is that all about! A mentality I will never understand. You need to protect your homes – we all do, Call the police. Buy huge door-bolts and use them every day, all day, each night and so on and so on. Don’t like them – TOUGH; better than the freedom of guns in homes that anyone, especially a Sad, loner who apparently never received the professional services he required to cope with his unhappiness in life.
    The “answer” as to why it happened has always been right in front of peoples noses.

    CNN was way out of line interviewing wee children. How arrogant and unfeeling. These children have experienced a sight they may not understand and will have nightmares over. Why glorify that, for a t.v. show.

    So much sadness, so much heartbreak and such an incredibly rough time for any family to deal with loss… at a time when most of us are in the whirlwind of celebrating life, love and giving.
    My heart is very heavy for these families and although they may never heal completely, I hope they will rally for the benefit of the children still out there – children with a right to enjoy socialization and learning in any school, any state, country, etc. etc. Get your gun laws into action and put unbalanced murderers out of action.

  31. Thanks Kate for expressing what we are all feeling. I hesitated opening the Centsational Girl email today, thinking it would feature more holiday cheer, which I just couldn’t face when my heart was so heavy with grief. Instead your words echoed my sentiments. For me, this Christmas will be about family and love, less about the presents. We will hold our children close and focus on the precious time we have with them, knowing that other families will not have this opportunity.

  32. I live about 30 miles from Newtown in another small community, just over the border in New York. I also have a friend who lost a cousin in the shooting. I found out about this horrific tragedy when I went to pick up my son from his therapeutic boarding school in a nearby town in Connecticut. When I arrived, I found the place on lock down–as a precaution, because at that early time, it was believed that there were three shooters and one was still on the loose. I understand mental illness and disordered brains, especially having a son on the autistic spectrum. What I cannot conceive of, however, is sick or not, how anyone could unload an assault rifle in an ELEMENTARY school killing all of those innocent children. Thank you for your beautiful, heartfelt post. We all feel a stabbing pain on the realization that if that could happen there, it could happen anywhere. Perhaps this will bring about some very sorely needed change. People with special needs, whatever they may be–including mental illness, and other neurological disorders absolutely need to be cared for and to receive the proper support, or more tragedies like this are going to happen! These incidents do not happen out of the blue or without plenty of warning–ever. Blessings, strength, courage and love to all! ~ Laurel

  33. This horrific tragedy has stopped our Nation in our tracks and put everything into perspective. It was a sad, sad day in America. It is comforting to read these comments, to know that I am not the only one who can’t shake the feeling of deep sadness. Our country needs to focus on remembering the heros and the beautiful children lost and not sensationalize the evil.

  34. I follow many blogs on decorating and sewing and the sentiment expressed by many bloggers in the wake of this tragedy is that what you do seems trivial or meaningless. But in times like these, what you do is so important! You provide inspiration and normalcy. You remind us that life gives us so much to be happy about. You spark creativity and give a sense of purpose to what we do. I’m grieving, too. I have elementary school aged children, too. My heart is cracked in two, but I come to your blog and it brings me some happiness. So thank you!

    • Thank you Alice. That’s why we all have to go back to work, to continue to foster creativity, celebrate beauty, and share joy.

  35. I agree with Debora, we all have to care about the violence and the loss of life throughout the world. Perhaps, finally enough good and caring people will be motivated to unite to try to make changes in our country and stop this cycle of violence. I taught first graders for 11 years and this year, kindergarteners and my heart just stopped when I heard the news.

    Tears and sorrow come first but what would be a lasting tribute and be of SOME comfort to the families would be if enough decent people would demand changes in our laws. Write to your politicians, voice your concerns. Write about the violence and glorification of violence in movies and in television. Take the time to have your voices heard. If each one of us, took the time, we could make a difference. Then, perhaps, our sadness and helplessness would be lightened just a bit. It take a village and we are all villagers.

  36. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Kate..I can not talk about this without crying..why..oh why do people have to hurt children…

  37. Kate,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I’ve had an incredibly difficult time with this, and I don’t have kids, I can only imagine what must run through a parent’s mind. Thank you for your post and sharing your thoughts.


  38. Kate,
    I was completely overwhelmed with sorrow last night. All weekend, I tried to deny what had happened by burying myself in my own family. And then it all hit me like a ton of bricks last night. I cried my eyes out for those children and the survivors. I feel horrible. I am thousands of miles away and can’t stop crying…I can only imagine how hard this is for the families.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.


  39. Kate,
    I am a long-time reader/lurker and have never commented before. I visit your blog almost daily for crafty inspiration and fun ideas. PLEASE don’t think for one minute that what you do is “trivial.”
    My youngest daughter is a survivor of Friday’s shooting at Sandy hook School, and visiting my favorite blogs today (Tuesday) is my first real attempt at getting back to “normal” after spending the last few days in tears, shock and gut wrenching fear.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do daily. And thank you for this sensitive memorial post.

    And thank you to sailing… I’ll be checking those links for help.

    • Thank you Kimmer for this very thoughtful comment. I cannot imagine how you must feel living in Newtown and actually having a child at the schoool.
      It took me a few days to get back to reality and I really really appreciate you sharing that what I/we do as creative bloggers is not trivial.
      Focusing on beauty and home improvement is very valuable, so I’m thankful you said so.
      Big hugs,

  40. Spent the last hour at work reading through all these comments…thanks everyone for your words and thoughts. I’m grateful for online communities like these that can bring us together in times of tragedy.

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