There was snow that morning, so the hiss of flakes against the windows was a constant companion as I got her ready for the day. I watched her eat a bowl of cereal and drink a glass of orange juice, helped her shrug into her winter coat, made sure her laces were tied, and held her hand as we managed the icy walk to the car. She kissed my cheek before stepping out into the controlled mayhem of the sidewalk in front of the school. I watched her as she was swallowed by the mob of children flowing in the schoolhouse door. I think I saw her look back and smile.
I was barely home before the phone rang. Something happened, something happened, I don't know what, but something happened. Turn on the news, and it's a view from a helicopter above her school, armored cops with rifles raised ("Like the ants that fight," you randomly remember from a Thomas Harris novel) swarming through the front door, children streaming out of the side of the building, is that her? Is that her? Where is my daughter?
No, that's not her, none of the screaming, hysterical, traumatized children on CNN are my baby, my baby is still in the building, face down in an ocean of blood and tangled in a pile of other dead children. Someone shot my baby so many times she doesn't have a face. Her jawbone is gore on the classroom wall, and I have to bury her with a closed casket so no one at the funeral throws up at the sight of her.
Welcome to the nightmare. As a parent, that scenario is one of many I am forced to deal with in my mind now, thanks to the Sandy Hook massacre.