The Talk After the Tragedy

6

December 16, 2012 by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND

armin vogel (flickr)

armin vogel (flickr)

I hadn’t planned on telling my children about the killings in Connecticut. They are only 7 and 10, too young to hear of such things.

But then I got an email from my 5th grader’s teacher, explaining that the children would most likely be talking about it on the bus and in class, so better to have the discussion before they return to school and find out from their classmates.

Lily was resting in our best last night, as she sometimes does after a leisurely read and back rub. I told her that I wanted to talk with her about something, and that I needed her not to discuss it with her little sister.

It went something like this.

Me: Lily, something happened in a school in Connecticut yesterday. A man came into the school and killed many people, most of them children.

Lily: Why did he do that?

Me: I don’t know. We may never know. What I can tell you is that there are different kinds of “health.” There’s body health, like we often talk about. And then there’s brain health. This man did not have a healthy brain. Most people can’t understand why someone would do something like this, because it’s not something that people who have healthy brains would do.

Lily: Who did he kill?

Me: He mostly killed children. He also killed some adults, and he killed himself.

Lily: Why did he kill himself?

Me: I don’t know. He was a very sick man. We may not ever understand why he did any of this.

Lily: How old were the children?

Me: They were in kindergarten.

Lily: What did the parents of the children do when they found out that their children were shot?

Me: (crying) I can’t imagine, Lily.

Lily: It’s okay, Mommy. I didn’t get shot. I’m right here.

Me: I know, baby. I just can’t imagine.

Lily: Is someone going to do this at our school?

Me: Your school is safe. This kind of thing is very, very rare. And the teachers have plans in place in case of emergencies. They are there to protect you.

Lily: Did the teachers try to protect the children in Connecticut?

Me: Yes, they did. Many of them did.

Lily: What happened to them?

Me: Many of them died trying to help the children, but others saved the children and also lived themselves. They loved the children very much, and did whatever they could to help them.

Lily: Scarlett shouldn’t know about this. She would cry and be scared.

Me: That’s right. She’s too young to understand. No one really understands.

…long pause…

Me: Lily, is there anything else you want to know or ask me about?

Lily: I don’t think so. I’ll let you know if I do.

Me: Good, please do. And also know that while many people at your school are going to know about this, many others may not. It’s important that you not talk about it in front of the younger children. If you want to talk about it more, you can always talk to your teachers and your Dad and me.

Lily: I understand.

Me: Lily, I want you to know that as horrible as this is, there is still a chance for some good to come out of it. Sometimes really bad things happen, and then really big, good things happens next. We don’t need bad things to happen in order for good things to happen, but sometimes it works that way.

Lily: OK.

Me: Lily, I want you to remember that LOVE IS ALWAYS BIGGER THAN FEAR.

Lily: I know.

What have you shared with your children? What’s been most helpful for them and for you?

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6 thoughts on “The Talk After the Tragedy

  1. sue says:

    Kim, well said. I haven’t talked to G yet about this but i will. I will definitely take pointers from your conversation. Thank you.

  2. Joya Maxwell says:

    Thank you, Kim, for being the soul, daughter and mother that you are. Love, Mama

  3. Thank you, Sue. I only wish that it never had to be said. Lily looks at me differently now. If I seem a little bit “off,” she says, “Oh, I know why you’re sad.”
    No child, no person should ever have to go through any part of this tragedy. I pray that the changes needed for it to never happen again begin today.
    Sending love to you as you bring this to G.

  4. I forgot to add that I also told her that we hear about the bad in the world much more quickly than we did in the past because of the media. But to remember that MOST people are good. It’s true.

  5. I’m pretty sure we were having the same talk at the same time 😦

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