It’s that feeling that comes over some of us in a moment of crisis or maybe in its aftermath. An inability to move, think, or even speak. Breathing is difficult, standing up causes dizziness. The ground is all that you can hold onto. You are not in control of your mind and body.

I felt it wafting over me on December 14th, 2012 but, I willed it away. I scurried about the firehouse and school parking lot, looking to help others, busying myself with task after task to avoid sitting in that reality for more than a moment. I have managed to keep it at bay for all of this time.

I have pushed through every trauma “trigger” that threatened to paralyze me this year. The flashing lights of police cars, the sounds of ambulance sirens speeding by, the sight of my daughters’ boarded up elementary school, Joey’s birthday, the holidays, and the anniversary. I even sent out Christmas cards with one daughter unnaturally absent. I was determined to defy those triggers and mile markers. I still am.

What I didn’t count on is the sense of walking through quicksand that I am feeling these last few days. I am taken by surprise, caught off guard.

No amount of hard work can take away what happened to my youngest daughter and my family that day. That is what threatens to paralyze me.

So I close my eyes (I can actually type this way), and remember one of the last things I said to my daughter. “I love you and I won’t give up. Ever.”

The couch and the blanket are looking really good right now. But I made a promise…

And all of you who said you would help me had better get ready. It’s on days like today that Alissa and I are counting on your support. Whether through prayer or encouragement, your efforts in your own community, or by making a donation to our mission, we need to know that we are not in this alone.

Looking at the work ahead, I have to remind myself again of that promise I made to Josephine.

So I’m casting off the blanket and climbing off of the couch now… You with me?



Md. native, mother of Sandy Hook victim, advocates for safer schools

Learn more: Baltimore Sun, February 24, 2014.

Alissa and I have been a bit quiet lately.  Thank you for being patient with us as we juggle our Safe and Sound projects and the care of our healing families.  Some days are easier than others;  but, everyday is about owning where we each are on our journey and remembering the little girls we love, pushing us to never give up. I don’t mind telling you, they are seriously pushy!

We are well into 2014 with a list of projects on the whiteboard that I am both excited about–and daunted by if I’m being perfectly honest!  We are a band of volunteers ranging from stay-at-home moms to leading safety experts, all with “day jobs” and family lives.  We can do this, right?!

Seriously, we can, as long as we share the goals and the work.  We all get charged when we collaborate and work together toward our common goal:  making our nation’s schools safer through the education, active awareness, and collaboration of all school safety stakeholders.   I know.  It’s a mouthful.  I still have to work on my elevator speech.  Can somebody put that on the whiteboard?

For now, it’s off to another day of “Safe and Sound Stuff” (as my family has taken to calling it), punctuated by a few loads of laundry, the dishes, and walks with the dog.  It’s a beautifully, snowy day to get up, get going, and make the world a safer place for our children.