Heartache, Helpers and Heroes

My heart aches. My heart aches for all those children who were killed. My heart aches for those teachers and staff members who gave their lives. And for the families who lost a beloved son or daughter or mom or wife. 

The first question that goes through your mind when something happens like this is "Why?" We want to blame something. We want reasons that this could happen and reasons why it won't happen. 

We want answers. And the news media wants ratings. Each network wants to get the scoop and in doing so ends up presenting misinformation.  Some misinformation presented to date: the mom did not work as a teacher; it was not Ryan Lanza, but Adam Lanza who was the gunman....so much misinformation. And then the media starts trotting the word autism out in a speculative way. And my heart aches for another reason. More misinformation. Sanjay Gupta reported there is no connection between autism and planned violence. But for some people that word will stick and they will now associate it with violence. 

Please read Emily Willingham's post. She, like me, is the mom of a child with autism.  She writes for Forbes and other publications. She writes an important piece called Autism, empathy, and violence: One of these things doesn't belong here

How do we go on from here?  How can we make sense of this horrible heartache? Fred Rogers - yes THAT Mr. Rogers - said his mother told him this about watching scary news: 
"Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world." 
I see many helpers. I see more than helpers, I see heroes... 

There will be no answers that are comforting.  But I hope for them, comforting or not, so that we can figure out how to prevent such tragedies.   The question we all can ask of ourselves on this day:

How can we be helpers? 

 ~ Dixie Redmond


Unknown said...

Dixie, my heart aches along with you. For the sake of hopefully preventing things like this in the future, like you, I do hope they find some answers. In my mind, however, there is no sense to be made of tragedies like this. There is no explanation that will satisfy that big question we have... "why?" There is no motive to justify violence. Everyone is looking for someone or something to blame. And... the media is only exacerbating the impact in a negative way. I'm deeply saddened by the misinformation, all in the name of ratings. It used to be journalists checked and rechecked facts to make sure they were reporting TRUTH. Now, the only aim is to be the FIRST to air new information... regardless of validity.

My heart breaks for you and for your son as well. Stereotypes are difficult enough already, to suddenly be connected to violence unfairly because of a media slant is another tragedy for so many families. :(

Looking for the helpers sounds like good sound advice.

In love,

Unknown said...

Hi Dixie
Just wanted to say I loved your post-so very touching. I am a resident of Connecticut and watched all the heroes, young and precious. All is so very sad. My heart grieves for those who have the precious honor of calling themselves parents. The loss is so great.
Yes, blaming Autism is not right and so stereotypical and unfair for those who personally deal with this challenge every day. My son has aspbergers too and know he would never do such an evil thing that occurred. He too, feels such sorrow for these poor families involved. I wish they wouldn't be so quick to blame this neurological challenge.

Dixie Redmond said...

Thanks so much for writing, Dana. :-)

Dixie Redmond said...

Lina - I agree. I wish that the need for high ratings didn't cause such misinformation.

A Magical Whimsy said...

Hello, dearest Dixie,
I know my son too, who has Down's Syndrome would never commit such a crime against children either. To blame the handicapped is atrocious. Mental illness is another area in a different category all together, but would to God, the mother of the gunman had had more sense than she did in having firearms in her home and even teaching her son to use them was totally unwise, especially if she knew for a fact he was mentally unstable. I felt for the older brother and the misinformation and the grief it probably caused him in being accused first as the one who was thought to have been the killer. When I read that the killer may have had Autism, I shook my head and knew that was not a correct assumption. It did not make sense. So sorry for those of us with handicap children who really know the difference in how they assimilate life. The media was nauseating at times, and I posted a comment that I was 'done' with reading anymore, that I couldn't take any more 'in' that the world had plenty of 'closure' about the tragedy from the media, and to let the citizens of Newtown grieve and comfort themselves within their own community.
love and hugs to you Dixie
Teresa Swanson

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, thank you

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden