Dear Nicole Hockley,
My heart remains with you. Today—on the tenth anniversary of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary—and always.
I feel your pain today as clearly as I felt your pain on that December morning when I remained frozen—tearfully staring at my computer reading about the shooting that had just occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. An inexplicable wail came out of me and I sobbed uncontrollably as my heart broke for all of the children and families whose lives were changed in an instant.
The children who were subjected to this insane crime were only babies. The pain felt all too real to me since having had my own baby less than a year before. The pain these parents felt was unfathomable.
And then the thought of having to send my child off to school one day—without me—struck me deep in my heart. How could I willingly send him off, not knowing if he is safe? How will I raise him in a world filled with uncertainty and terror?
I remember that night vividly.
My husband and I sat together and cried. We shared the pain of all of the parents who felt the same way we did—and we wept for the parents in Newtown who lost their children that day. We cried for the innocence that was lost.
We cried because we knew that the world we lived in would never again be the same. We whispered through tears that if the gun laws didn’t change after this, if the massacre of first graders didn’t change the laws in this country…then what? I wonder every day why and how we go on the way that we do.
It’s now 10 years later.
My heart is still with all those who were lost, who lost loved ones, who cry with us as we dream of change, who work tirelessly every day to bring forth change.
My heart is with you, Nicole—you, who poignantly expressed a grief no mother should have to endure. Our hearts were with you while we felt your pain from the privacy of our homes and with the comfort from our families who we had the luxury of holding in our arms. You could have been any of us.
I want you to know how brave and amazing I think you are. I want you to know how much of an impact you and the other parents have made with the Sandy Hook Promise.
I know so much work still needs to be done to change the gun laws in this country, and I applaud you for having the courage to keep working towards these goals. I salute you for the progress made and I stand by you for the efforts that will continue.
My baby boy is school-age now. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about all the beautiful children and educators who lost their lives that morning at Sandy Hook. I think about it every single time I drop my son off at school. Our nation will never be the same; the holiday season will never be the same.
This is the world we live in now. A world of fear and uncertainty, and yet a world of love and hope.
Nicole, from one mother to another—thank you. Thank you for dedicating your life to preventing gun violence, for honoring your beautiful butterfly Dylan and for fighting to ensure that no parent has to experience the pain you experienced.
I made a promise that day that I would join you in this movement. I have and I will continue to fight this fight with you.
I will fight with you for Dylan and the many beloved children who lost their lives, including Ana, Josephine, Chase, Charlotte, Madeline, Avielle, Catherine. I will fight with you for Benjamin, James, Olivia, Caroline Jack, Allison, Noah and Jessica. For Jesse, Emile and Grace. For Daniel.
For all of our children, my heart remains with you.