If you a parent of a young one, the date may not be etched in your memory like it is for some, but this Sunday will mark the second anniversary of the day innocence was lost to a disturbed young man. It wasn't the first time, nor will it be the last. But 12/14 was the day that we gasped that it could happen to such young souls and it shocked us as parents to realize it can happen to our 'babies,' not just other people's kids, but OUR kids.
Friday, December 14th, 2012
Sandy Hook Elementary School
Now that I've said the name, it is likely flashing back to you.
I personally was not affected, I do not share this under that premise.
I have never once been to Connecticut nor physically met anyone from the area. But as we all know, the internet and social communities unite us and we make friends around the world without ever meeting. My connection is simply that of an online friend of a family whom I've never met, but have grown to love in the last 8 years. A friendship with a mother. A mother whose son is mere months older than mine. A mother who commiserated and compared and shared parenting tips with a fellow first time mother between Connecticut and Texas. I have not met her or her family. But I cried that day for her family. I cry when I see my 10yr old son who shares so much in common with her son and what he experienced that day. And still tear up on this day as my friend's family continues to struggle despite surviving that day. Her children were Sandy Hook students. Her children are survivors and will always be prayed for.
This post is not about them.
This post and message is about a dear friend of theirs that did not walk away that day.
Their loved friend, neighbor, and classmate, "Joey."
Today would have been Josephine Grace Gay's 9th birthday.
"Joey" was a beacon of smiles and was loved by all,
she was a special soul that hid behind autism that kept her silenced.
A special soul that many did not get to experience due to her short time with us.
Please take a moment to think of those children this weekend, and especially December 11th as Joey's birthday.
You can see the impact she had across the country by searching #CelebrateJoey
and our hope to turn the internet purple on 12/11.
Please visit "Joey's Fund" to learn more about Joey's impact on everyone who met and loved her.
**********************In the last two years, many other incidents have occurred. Gun control was debated, argued and silenced. Instead of dwelling on the 'shoulda, woulda, couldas', members of Newtown are teaching us as parents and community members. SafeandSoundSchools.org has been created to help parents, educators, and communities across the country improve the safety in our schools. You can find toolkits and opportunities to learn more about the safety of your community and schools.
*This post is not sponsored and I hope I gave credit to all sources, I have no affiliation with any of the programs, websites, or foundations referenced. This is simply April spreading Joey's smile and message to never forget what happened in Newtown and hope and pray to find solutions to keep our children safe.*