But now that I moved to the suburbs and drive a car every single day, the radio has once again become a part of my life. On my first day in the car, I was flipping through the stations, and stumbled upon a country music station. I love country music, but have found it to be a rare commodity in the northeast. So now the radio in my car is always tuned to Kicks 105.5.
I mostly tune out when the music stops and the DJs start talking, so what I failed to notice in my first six weeks in the suburbs is that my new favorite radio station is a station out of Connecticut, and they broadcast just a few miles from Newtown.
All week long the station has been inundated with callers sharing their thoughts about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and many of those callers have been broadcast on the air. And while I have tried really hard to stay away from the news in the days since the shooting - because once I start reading and watching I can't stop, and tend to get sucked in far beyond what is healthy and reasonable - I have been positively unable to turn off the radio. Hearing the tributes and thoughts from the residents of Newtown and the surrounding towns has been a way for me to process this tragedy in a way that seemed good and right to me.
But last night when I got in the car to head home from work there was something different on the radio. There was no music, and there were no DJs. Instead there was a man making a speech. And for a minute I couldn't tell what the speech was from, and then I realized. My radio station was broadcasting the entirety of the Tribute to Newtown, held at Connecticut State University. The tribute was organized to allow Connecticut resident to come together, to talk, and to grieve.
And I turned on the car just in time to hear these words from the university president, James Schmotter:
"We are alike in our pain; we are alike in our grief; we are alike in our quest to try to find some understanding of the events that seem truly incomprehensible."
And the truth of those words struck something in me. Reading blogs, and listening to the radio these past days, I have come to understand that I am far from the only one still trying to make sense out of the senseless. That I am far from the only one who is still thinking about the faces of twenty children who will be forever first graders. That I am far from the only one trying to find order in chaos.
This is, unfortunately, not the first mass shooting in recent memory, but this one feels different. I just can't move on from this one. And I'm not sure that I should, completely. It feels right to still be thinking about it. To not want to ever forget about it. To not be able to write words about anything else.
So while the funerals continue and the residents of Newtown try to pick up the pieces of their shattered community, I hope that they don't feel alone. As the parents grieve and the siblings wonder what became of their brothers and sisters, I hope they feel the arms of a nation wrapped around them. I hope they know that we will never, ever forget those twenty-seven faces, and that our tears flow along with theirs.
And I hope it brings just a bit of balm to their broken hearts and aching souls.