Right now we are all trying to understand how it is that this world we live in is home to people who are capable of purposefully taking the lives of innocent children. The Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy that just occurred in Newtown, Connecticut will never be forgotten, because somehow we all have got to find a way to honor the 20 beautiful children and 6 heroic adults whose lives were selfishly cut short in a matter of mere minutes.
Like everyone, and as a mother, I am deeply affected by the thought of my child being taken from me in any way, let alone in such a violent, permanent way. But what I am having the most difficulty with is coming to terms with who this happened to. I was very good high school friends with Olivia Engel's father Brian. Due to life moving so fast it has been years since I have talked to Brian, but my heart has been repeatedly breaking for him and his wife Shannon since I learned of how personally they have been affected by this.
It is a shame that this nightmare is what brings me to get caught up on his family. But what I have learned about Olivia in the past few days has given me insight into what is surely a bright light that has joined the other angels in heaven. An energetic yet polite 6-year-old, Olivia was a heavily involved little girl who loved everything from math to tennis to music. She loved to go boating with her family. She also loved her little brother Brayden, who somehow has to understand that his own personal hero will no longer be there to show him how to do things as he grows up.
I ache for my friend, who somehow has to process seeing his family's face on CNN, seeing his daughter's name on the front page of the New York Times and on an episode of The Voice, and even meeting the President of the United States, all while carrying the weight of this loss on his shoulders. It's all the world can do to honor Olivia's memory and help the family to know that the entire world is grieving and praying for them.
My hope is that Olivia will be remembered for the light she clearly was, and that she will live on in her brother, her parents, in the love that every parent has for their own children, and in humanity, which has to do a better job in protecting each other from such darkness that tried to takeover on Friday, December 14th, 2012. We all have to BE better.