|Artist Paul Siegel. Available at newtownaction.org|
If tragedy strikes your town, like it did mine, this may or may not happen to you.Hopefully you will never know.
1. You will find friends where you never expected. Hold them close.
2. Grieve at your own rate. Do not judge. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has a story to tell and a burden to carry.
3. Not everyone will comprehend the power of grief. It's just not possible.
4. People will say evil things. People you love, people you hate, strangers, colleagues, your boss, your cousins, strangers, trolls, your neighbors, your friends. They’ll all say hurtful things. Some will mean it, thankfully most won't.
5. You will lose friends you thought you knew. People you care about will walk away and never look back.
6. A secure school is an oxymoron. So are secure malls, towns, cities, theaters, navy yards, street, college, playground. No one is secure against a sick, unvetted person armed with military grade firearms, unlimited rounds and a goal. Sure we can all do better, but we can never be secure.
7. Small towns, big cities, suburbs, playgrounds, parties, mosques, churches, movie theaters, malls, navy bases, corporate parks, sleepovers, domestic violence, suicides: guns do not discriminate, so we must. Background checks for all purchases whether in Dicks or Cabela’s, or Craigslist, a gun show, or garage sale.
8. Listen to your kids. They’re trying to tell you something, even if they’re saying nothing at all. Parent together.
9. Do not engage with haters. Not in person and not on-line. Block, unfriend, and don't read comments. Haters hate. You can’t change that, you can only control how you react to them.
10. Love broadly and kindly. Kindness matters, not some of the time, but all of the time.
11. Look people in the eye. Listen carefully. Hug often.
12. Speak up. If you do not like what’s going on, say something. Do not suffer in silence or bully on social media. No one is a mind reader; you must make your intentions be known if you want change to happen.
13. Do not apologize for crying. Crying means caring, and do not stop caring.
14. Forgive often, but do not forget.
15. Above all, do no harm with your words or actions. Not to your family, friends, community or school. If you are not here to make life better in your circle, find another circle.
*Please commit to doing any action possible to make a positive change where you live, so our story doesn't become your story. Join a group in your community. Send an email. Be a friend. Find a cause. Share on Facebook. Hold a sign. Make a difference.