Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Gift For Newtown

Since the tragic events of last Friday occurred they have been heavy on my mind and heart.

In other social media forums I have re-posted the blog "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother" from The Huffington Post, The Treatment Advocacy Center, and a group I contribute to: Mental Illness Policy. It is written from the perspective of a mother with a mentally ill child. On my other blog I have a small mental health private case management and consulting company. I have been working with special needs children since I was in high school. I practiced Special Education and Child Advocacy Law for three years and have known many sick children. Before my daughter was born, when I was still a law student, I lost my mother to mental illness and co-authored "I'm Not Sick, I Don't need Help: Helping the Seriously Mentally Ill Accept Treatment." (Vida Press, 2000)

My other blog is my name.

Newtown, CT is a short drive from where my Grandmother lives. On Facebook a neighbor and the mother of one of my daughters friends posted that one of her childhood friends lives in Newtown. She lost her child on Friday. Today I am going to put together a card for the mother and a small gift for her surviving son.

A different neighbor, also a Myalgia Mommie, who suffers from migraines and has a daughter a few months older than mine grew up in Newtown. She and her family haven't been able to watch the news all weekend. She is coming by this afternoon for tea and together we will craft something special.

When I first heard the news I was reminded of the year that my daughter was in Kindergarten in Washington, DC. It was 2005 and a mentally ill man shot and killed two Capitol Police Guards at one of the Senate buildings. My daughters school was two blocks from the Capitol and was immediately put in lock down while the police secured the area.

I spent a wonderful afternoon with my daughter and her classmates. The teachers kept the children calm and I still send cards to all of them. When I heard that some teachers hid the children to protect them, I knew that my daughters elementary teachers would have done the same. This time of year trying to think of the right gift for teachers is always a challenge, knowing teachers as friends, I have been with them when they get to sort through their holiday loot so I want my gift to be one they like.

To Newtown I will send a card and a journal. My daughter has been chatting up a storm about what happened and since she turned seven (the magic age of reason for children) she tells me what she is thinking. Under the age of seven I had a wonderful time weaving stories of a magical reality for her and now she is making a world of her own. If I ever get concerned about the direction her world is taking, I read her latest story. So to the children that are trying to get back into a routine in Newton, the best gift would be art supplies and a journal. Whenever I see cute journals on sale I pick up a few and keep them hidden in my gift drawer.

I'm also lighting candles.

Yesterday a journalist that I like was missing in Syria. Lighting a candle is a form of prayer that I learned growing up Catholic. When I married my Indian husband I converted to Hinduism and lighting candles is how you pray in Eastern religions too.

Last night I wasn't feeling well and laying in bed I thought about the centuries of lighting candles to light the way home from the darkness. It is the season of light.

I'm lighting candles all over my house. Prayers for everyone.

Blessing for a warm and loving holiday.

It's time for another cup of tea.

Cheers,
ALJ


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