Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

After What Happened On Friday

I had it all planned out: a post with continued FAQs on the 31-minute challenge that encourages you to pursue your dreams was almost ready to go today. I am sorry, but I find I cannot write about chasing dreams. Not this week, not when, following the horrific events of last Friday, twenty children had barely started dreaming. And now they never can.

Six-year-old Charlotte Bacon had wanted to become a veterinarian since age 2, according to the media. Olivia Engel, 6, reports say, was a math whiz, and loved reading.  Dylan Hockley, 6, loved garlic bread, trampoline, and playing his Wii games. Victoria Soto, 27, a first-grade teacher, died shielding her students. According to her teacher’s bio, quoted by NBC, she loved reading books on the beach and “soaking up the sun.”sunset

The unfairness of it, I think that’s what got to me — to all of us, I’m sure.

When I first found out, I wished I could full-out cry. Instead, tears prickled at the edges of my eyes and a heavy lump settled in my throat. When my daughter came home from school, I grabbed her and held her — and held her — and held her. My daughter is a third-grader, who just turned nine a week ago. I just kept thinking, it could have been her, it could have been her, it could have been her. “Let go!” she complained, laughing.

When, an hour later, we were driving on an errand, the kids started bickering, and then before we knew it, peace was restored as easy as that, and we were joking around. My middle-schooler son was laughing, and for a moment there it felt so nice, to just not think of it, to pretend it was another Friday, another unseasonably warm December day, another present we get to unwrap all together. Then I looked up at the glowing orange disk of the sun marking the end of this day so brilliantly, and it hit me all over again. The beauty of everything they were robbed of. The twenty little children, and their six teachers, too. All the sunsets they will never see.

I am lucky. I’ve known it for a while now; don’t need tragedy to remind me. I get to go on with my life.

I am spoiled. I am not good at grieving.

This weekend I laughed; I walked under the rain; I wrote thousands of words; I played monsters with my kids. We went to see the Hobbit in the movies, something one of the victims, a 30-year-old teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau was apparently planning to do with her boyfriend that night (I’ve just learned). These simple, wonderful everyday things all became selfish acts of defiance after what happened on Friday.

I wish I could wrap this post up with a neat conclusion, a comforting thought, an insightful explanation. I don’t have any. Do you?

I wish I could do something. All I feel is small and numb. I don’t know what to do, except, honor those beautiful lives for every good thing they’ve left to those who knew them in their too-short time in this world. I don’t know what to do, except honor the goodness in all of us. And hold my children a little tighter.


December 17, 2012 - Posted by | Personal Mirror | ,


  1. A thoughtful post, Katia Raina. Even though I went about my daily activities, it was still a sad weekend. The innocence of school and the holidays were affected and lives were lost.

    I also believe in honoring the good despite the ugliness around us.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | December 17, 2012 | Reply

  2. I’m good at honoring the good. Not so good at dealing with the ugliness. Hope you and your kids feel a little better as you return to school this week, Medeia.

    Comment by Katia Raina | December 17, 2012 | Reply

  3. this post has touched me. I coudln’t find words to write about the tragedy, cz it made me think of my 6 year old cousins and it made me shudder.

    Comment by AH | December 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, AH. I understand about not being able to find the words, believe me. Nothing we say seems quite good enough.

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 17, 2012 | Reply

  4. We all hugged our kids more after that senseless tragedy. And we all groped for words to explain it. But some events are so horrible, any words you reach for seem inadequate. You’re not selfish, Katia. You feel deeply about this, as you seem to about everything. That is because you are a writer. So keep doing what you do best. Keep writing.

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | December 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Joanne. Your words mean a lot to me.

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 18, 2012 | Reply

  5. You did a beautiful job, Katia, expressing what we were feeling. The sunset photo added greatly. At church Sunday morning, the five year olds I work with on Wed. nights were singing as part of our pre-Christmas special service and I kept thinking, “it could have been them”… I looked at their beautiful faces and listened to their joyful voices and thought of those who will never have that chance again…how tragic for those beautiful, special children to not have their chance at life, because of such a senseless act of violence. I can’t begin to comprehend the sadness their family must be experiencing. It makes you stop and value, anew, LIFE.

    Comment by Barbara | December 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Barbara, for adding your thoughts to this post. We all are so traumatized by it, aren’t we. None of us seem to be quite able to move on — which makes sense, I guess. That, and the heroism of the teachers. The rest of it still doesn’t make sense to me, either — to any of us — and probably never will.

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 18, 2012 | Reply

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