December 18, 2012

A letter to the Newtown mothers

Dear Beautiful Mothers of Newtown,

We are so sorry. We are so very, very sorry. Our hearts are completely torn in bits over your loss, and we don’t know how else to say it because there are simply no words.  All we know is that we have to say it – that we as mothers can’t ignore It. That just because the unimaginable happened to you and not us and just because you live hundreds of miles away, it’s not OK for us to continue on without telling you that your children’s lives have changed everything.

We think about you so much we think we know you. In fact, we can’t possibly believe that you are strangers because we have too much in common. We have children the same age with the same lengthy Christmas wish lists. We have the same weekend sporting events, the same shows DVR’d for a rainy afternoon, the same junk food in our pantries. We gave birth the same year, maybe the same month. We both blinked and realized time tricked us once again when we saw our babies waltzing into 1st grade.

We look at our sons and daughters now and collectively gasp at your heartache.

We think about you in our still moments. We think about you during our craziest moments. We forget for a few minutes when we’re distracted by a tantrum or a long shopping list or a holiday party, then want to vomit when we realize that we can forget about It for a second, but you can’t.

We can’t tell you we know how you feel, and we can’t tell you it will get better. All we can tell you is that the moms of Charlotte hold you so close in our hearts and only hope your knowing this will give you a nanosecond of relief from the heartache.

Your children’s lives have changed the way we see our own children. They have reminded us that the greatest gift we can give our children on Christmas morning and every other morning is love – that we can’t really depend on anything else – and that our biggest responsibility as moms is to teach them to love. Everything else is inconsequential.

We want to take away your pain. We want our collective heartache to rewind the clock and rewrite history. We want you to have your children back – plain and simple.

But we can’t do any of that, and the helplessness infuriates us. What we can do is tell you that thousands of Charlotte moms are behind you over the next few days, months, and years. We will probably never meet, but we will never be strangers.

Sending our love north to all of you,

The Smarty Moms of Charlotte

54 Responses

  1. Jennifer Voorhees Jen V. says:

    Cheryl, thank you for this. I think we are all still speechless and this is a lovely note to the Newtown mothers. Thank you for helping put feelings into words.

  2. Jessica says:

    Beautifully written Cheryl, my heart aches for those mothers.

  3. Sarah says:

    Cheryl, this is so well written. It captures the thoughts of so many conversations that I have had with others this past week. Thanks for putting it into such a wonderful letter.

  4. Robina says:

    Thanks Cheryl. Crying again or still.

  5. Jen Plym Jen Plym says:

    I just cannot stop crying. I am constantly holding my babies tighter, while not ever wanting to let them go.

  6. Gwen Lamothe says:

    Such a beautiful tribute. Thinking the same thoughts as a mom in Florida!

  7. Jane Morrison says:

    Beautifully written…thinking of those families and sending hugs and prayers to all…

  8. Heather says:

    Could not have possibly said it better! Never in my life have I cried so much for people whom i have never met. All of the mothers here in New Jersey are feeling the same way. If there is one shred of happiness to come out of this tragedy it is knowing how many millions of children will be feeling so much more love now and hopefully forever.

  9. Another Jen says:

    Well said Cheryl. Thanks for putting it into words.

  10. Maureen says:

    I’m sure that was difficult to write, but it was perfect and I think it captures exactly how so many of us are feeling.

  11. Michelle says:

    I couldn’t have said it better. Your words are exactly what I would have written. I hate that I can be distracted but these poor parents cannot. I have a first grader and I see myself in each of these parents. Thank you for this letter.

  12. Lauren says:

    Thank you for sharing all that we think and feel during this painstaking and heartbreaking time. Every word rang true and grateful that your words may reach even one of those moms today. Prayers all around.

  13. Michelle Vigna says:

    Thank you for putting my feelings into words. I grieve every second for all the families. They deserve every tear I cry.

  14. Michelle Vigna says:

    Thank you for putting my feelings in to words. I grieve for each family. They deserve every tear I shed and every minute of my sorrow. I just hate that I can be distracted and they can’t so I will never forget.

  15. Jen says:


  16. Thank you Cheryl…thank you for putting all of our emotion into beautiful words and sending them North…I personally can’t seem to stop crying…and I cannot fathom the pain each of these families is enduring…spreading love seems to be the only way…

  17. Dana says:

    a well writte and beautifully expressed letter I wish it could be seen by every person that lost a child in this terrible event. My children are grown now but I still feel their pain and I remember what it was like when my kids were that age, and I am here to tell you the age difference in our kids doesn’t matter one bit. I still cry and mourn those losses and my heart hurts all the time, so thank you for expressing what so many of us are feeling right now.

  18. brooke says:

    thank you cheryl.
    beautiful and perfect and tearful and true.
    thank you.

  19. MM says:

    lovely and so touching. Thank you.

  20. Jennifer H says:

    This is beautiful Cheryl, thank you for writing it. I cannot stop thinking about these parents, they are in my thoughts and prayers continuously.

  21. Linda Hill says:

    As a mother of four and a grandmother of 5, I too feel every needle of pain and they pierce my heart! Each of the children and their brave teachers and principal have haunted all of us and will do so for many years.

    Last night we had dinner with some friends whose own daughter died 24 years ago. She was just barely 6 years old also. As we blessed the food for our dinner, I saw the raw pain on the father’s face as he asked that God comfort the little ones lost as well as their families. He said in an aside to me, “I know just how they feel. ”

    May God continue to hold you close.

  22. loribeth says:

    Lovely words. My child came down withthe flu this week and normally that would turn my world upside down, especially at this time of year, but I have mommied him and felt blessed at every moment. My heart will ache forever for these parents and their loss.

  23. Adrienne says:

    Cheryl, thank you for writing this. Thank you for letting the mothers know that we all can’t stop thinking about them.

  24. Laura says:

    Thank you for your heartfelt words Cheryl. I’ve not been able to find the words through my tears and am so grateful you could represent all the moms of Charlotte so beautifully.

  25. Dawn Hamilton says:

    So true, heartfelt and so appropriate! Thank you Cheryl, on behalf of myself and I am sure billions of others who want to do/say something but don’t know where to start. Hopefully knowing that a community and a nation is praying for, aches with, and empathizes with these parents offers some type of solace in this horrific nightmare.

  26. Jessica says:

    Just saw this on CNN if you are interested in sharing these words…
    You can also share your kind words of condolence by sending the community of Newtown a condolence letter:
    Message of Condolence
    PO Box 3700
    Newtown, CT 06470

  27. Mary Jane Postiglione says:

    I have felt the same way! Thank you for saying everything we all feel here in Charlotte and across the US!

  28. Trina says:

    Having a six year old son in kindergarten, it has taken me four days to even be able to read a paper or look online. My heart too, is in a million pieces for these mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, friends. Like all the posts before mine, thank you Cheryl. You have so elliquently written what I have been thinking and feeling.

  29. Joanna says:

    Thank you for putting in words what I have felt about this nightmare. It literally chips at my heart everytime I see a picture of these sweet baby angels.

  30. Atlanta Mom says:

    Atlanta moms (reading your Charlotte blog) are with you in spirit and prayer…what a lovely and wrenching articulation of what we are all feeling. I have a first grader – and dropping her off at school Monday was so hard. Thank you for your thoughts and perspective, especially important to all of us during this holiday season. Blessings to you and everyone reading your blog.

  31. Anitha Leonard MD says:

    As a pediatrician who worked in the pediatric ER for 8 years then private practice in Atlanat, now in Charlotte, I have seen some awful diagnosis of disease, accidental and non-accidental injury. Today , was my 1st day back in the office , lots of sick kids, worried moms , I diagnosed, I treated and counseled all day but could not get Newtown out of my head. All i saw were beautiful innocent children like the Newtown kids. I have a 1st grader and your words felt like it was coming from heart. I thank you for that.

  32. Jill Motsinger says:

    This is beautiful and straight from the heart. I feel like our world has changed forever and I am having a difficult time coming to terms with it all. It’s got me in a funk; I’m not excited for Christmas. I can’t stop crying. Thanks for writing what is on all of our minds, hearts, and souls.
    God bless.

  33. Kelley Perkins says:

    Cher, you put into words the heartache that I feel throughout each day as I think about Newtown. As I sat up holding my son who had a fever late last night wanting to go to bed a tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about the Newtown moms who could not hold their babies. My heart goes out to Newtown.

  34. Marta Murray says:

    Thank you Cheryl. Michigan mothers and grandmothers share your feelings as well. My tears are never far away. Now even just seeing a little child at the store brings an ache to my heart for the precious twenty who were taken away from their families. We continue to pray for these families, and for those who surround them each day.

  35. michael buskey says:

    Very well written by you!!!

  36. Ali says:

    Cheryl, this is beautiful. Thank you for writing this for all parents to read, those with children young and old. I have close family in Newtown and have been visiting this charming and loving town since birth. I am printing a copy of your letter to deliver to my family to share with their community. Being the mother of a 1st grader and just trying to imagine those helpless children (and the adults who are hero’s), makes my heart ache. I hug my children every chance I can and have held them tightly the past few days.

  37. Elizabeth Cruse says:

    Thank you for saying what we are all feeling..Please know you will not be forgotten.

  38. Sandi says:

    Very well said… Thank You!

  39. Niki says:

    Beautiful and touching. Just hug, kiss, and hold your babies each and everyday because life can change in a second. You can’t say I love you enough!

  40. Courtney B. says:

    My tears have started again. You have encapsulated all my thoughts in one succinct article. So beautifully written.

  41. Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for finding a way to say what I’m sure every mother is feeling. My heart breaks for those who lost their precious little gifts way to early. I have a six year old as well and every night that I put him to bed I think of those mothers who will never get to do that again. I can’t begin to imagine the pain they are going through but I hope they know that the moms here will never forget what they’ve lost and that they are being prayed for today and always.

  42. kathy fuesy says:

    That sums it up, beautifully. Thank you.

  43. Robin Castaldi says:

    Thank you for so movingly expressing the inexpressible. Although this situation is the epitomy of a situation for which most of us can only say, “There are no words …”, YOU have found the perfect words. Words that not only movingly articulate the deep anguish and profound empathy that we mothers everywhere feel for the grieving, empty-armed mothers of Newtown … but words that also convey the hope that our impassioned, supportive prayers might lift up, just the tiniest bit, these devastated families in the knowledge that they have become a permanent part our broken hearts.

  44. Isabel Bucaram says:

    Beautifully put. I am a mother of a 2,4 and 6 year old. I could never imagine the pain and sorrow that these mothers are feeling. All we can do is keep them in our prayers and never forget.

  45. Marion says:

    Beautiful Newton Mothers, you will always be in every Mommy’s heart here in Colorado. Thank you Cheryl for putting a voice to our feelings of pure helplessness in reaching out to the Moms, sisters, friends who will never live a single day without heartache. Your Angel Babies will always live on through all of us!

  46. lm says:

    very sweet letter! one thing that I need to add is that I know a man who can take your sorrows and your pain-he will take on your burdens if you will believe in him and release them to him. his name is JESUS, he is my best friend, my father, my protector, and so much more. He longs to be yours too! please contact me if you have any questions- or more importantly reach out to Him in prayer- I promise he will answer you!

  47. Shana says:

    The tears are still rolling down the right side of my cheek as I reply…Cheryl, thank you for writing this. A part of my heart was taken that day as well for those beautiful angels.

  48. Rhett says:

    So beautifully written, Cheryl.

  49. fred and janet pierce says:

    no other words are necessary…. our prayers and tears will continue to be with each family and friend of each child and the adults who lost their lives

  50. Shannon says:

    Greatly written. So many heartfelt stories to be told and loads of why’s to be answered. I too want to express how deeply I am sadden from this terrible event. It was tragic and so painful. I cannot imagine the what if’s that so many of you had to endure that Friday morning. I have two elementary school children, one in first grade and the other in second grade. My heart breaks, it hurts for your loss and it aches for the paint that you will feel daily as you miss your precious child. I do find comfort in knowing that your child is now in Heaven; living out their childhood in gloryland and already telling Jesus about their mommy and daddy! You have an angel looking after you always. I hope and pray you can one day find comfort and begin to smile again as you are reminded that your precious child is forever loved by so many and will be forever loved by Jesus. Heaven is now where they lay each night but will never be too far away that their love and presence can not be felt in your heart always! Praying for all of you and that God will guide your life through this time of need and sorrow. I pray that Gods “will” for your life shine brightly and your future will hold happiness through all the pain of all that was loss on that day. God bless you all!!

  51. Mary Beth from RI says:

    Beautifully said, funny how you could say what is in all our hearts. Thank you! God bless you and your family.

  52. Such an eloquent way of relaying the lump in the throat, teary-eyed emotion we are all experiencing as we celebrate the holidays with that incomprehensible “what-if??” …..I too have an elementary school child that age and the thought of him even watching the violence that overtook that town is inconceivable. We must try to work together to muffle the increasing violent nature that is becoming too well known in our society today….I don’t know how exactly, but for the sake of all of our children’s future safety we have to find a way. God Bless you poor heartbroken moms of the world ……we feel your pain because we are sad for you and for ever increasing possibility that tomorrow it could be us….

  53. Melissa Cornish says:

    Beautifully said. Thank you and God bless the moms and families of Newtown. God, give them strength.

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