Sandy Hook 4 Years Later: I Hugged My Kids, I Hugged ‘Em Tight

This week marks four years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook. These are the words I wrote down that night after a very long day in the newsroom. Never forget those kids.  PW Dec 2016

 

All I could think about was hugging my kids and hugging them tight.

When I heard the news of the devastating school massacre in Connecticut I jumped into action. That’s what news people do. We’re supposed to be used to this. But there’s never a “getting used to this”. While some people turn off the TV when the images and emotions are just too much, we intentionally rush in and immerse ourselves in what’s happening trying to bring people the best news and information. This day was no different as we dispatched reporters and booked flights and went into crisis coverage.

But all I could think about was hugging my kids and hugging them tight.

We heard from a heroic nurse who saw the commotion and ran to help. “Who can I help”, she said before she was told there was no one left to help. I saw the pictures of panicked children holding hands being led from the school, and I saw the pictures of shocked and grieving parents arriving to the news we all hope we never get. I couldn’t stop thinking about the parents who dropped their kids off for school that morning. I couldn’t stop thinking about the parents who got that call. Those parents, oh god.

But all I could think about was hugging my kids and hugging them tight.

I heard the wrenching words from the President all choked up. I heard from a grieving community which will never be the same. I heard about the brave principal who tried to warn the school. I heard about the brave teachers who tried to lock their doors and hide their students. I heard about the shooter and the motives and the questions that remain. Sadness mixed with anger mixed with adrenaline. News people live off adrenaline when there is breaking news. It was the adrenaline that carried me through all our newscasts during the day. It was the adrenaline that kept me going.

But all I could think about was hugging my kids and hugging them tight.

At the end of the day I got in the car for the ride home. For even a brief second, I tried to forget what I had spent the entire day bringing to viewers. The first time you really get to stop and think about something can be the loneliest and the saddest moment. It was. I feel so horrible for those kids and those parents. I feel so horrible for that community. At the same time, I feel so guilty going home to my own kids. It was a long ride home. I parked in the driveway and walked to the door. I stepped inside as the kids yelled, “Daddy!” It was the sweetest, most guilt-filled moment ever.

I hugged my kids. I hugged them tight.

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About dadmissions

author of Dadmissions. surrounded by a wife and two girls... and a dog named Cupcake
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2 Responses to Sandy Hook 4 Years Later: I Hugged My Kids, I Hugged ‘Em Tight

  1. These words… these thoughts… are still very powerful to this day.

  2. Still gives me nightmares. I live in Ct and will occasionally drive by the Newtown exit. Gives me a chill every time

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