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Dear Newtown, Connecticut

This open letter in response to the tragic school shooting was penned by Hellertown native Emily Doll, a doctoral student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. It was first published on her Facebook page on Friday.

Dear Newtown, Connecticut,

I don’t know you. I’ve never been to your town, I don’t know your friends and families and streets and memories. Like most people, I didn’t know you existed until today, and now my ears keep echoing with your name and your cries; now I close my eyes and picture your woods; now I think of you every time I inhale, exhale, breathe. 

I don’t know you, but my heart shattered for you today in a way I can’t comprehend yet. I don’t have answers for you, only shared questions; I don’t have reasons for you, only resonating whys. I’m not there, I’m not with you, I’m not part of you tonight, but from 317 miles away, know that I am grieving with you.

I don’t have the intellect to understand what happened today. I don’t have the language to put into words what these monsters of grief and fear and anger and evil look like or feel like or taste like on your tongue.

Dear Connecticut, know that you are not alone tonight. Know that your pain matters, your fears matter, your anger matters. Know that the raw, gaping holes you are facing matter; and while those holes must feel so all-consuming tonight, know that there is hope. Know that it might be buried right now, but it is there. Know that no matter how broken you are in this moment, or will be in these dark hours and days and months and years to come, that there are Hands that will hold you together no matter how much you are falling apart. There is Peace that can fill every aching, burning crevice in your heart and your soul. There is a Protector that is promising, “You will be safe in My arms.”

Dear children, know that there is still hope in the world. Know that evil doesn’t win, that fear doesn’t triumph, that safety still exists. Know that it’s OK to be lonely and it’s OK to be scared and it’s OK to be angry and it’s OK to be broken, but know that you are heal-able, you are mend-able, you are strong and you are loved and you will get through this.

Dear world, know that we are not alone tonight. Hug your children. Hug your family. Know that broken hearts and grieving mommies and daddies transcend all borders, all languages, all religions. Know that tragedy has no definition, but it has meaning; that when hurt of this magnitude hits, it is too much for any one school or community or town to manage all by itself, so it overflows and settles on each one of us. Know that we carry this burden together, and in that, we can help each other heal. Know that prayers, peace, healing, gentleness, love and goodness continue to live because we work to keep them alive, even in the darkest, most empty, most forsaken moments. Keep working. Keep hope alive. Keep going when your friends and neighbors can't do it by themselves.

Know that God is here. Know that He is catching each tear, comforting each sob, feeling each gasp deep within His own being. Know that your prayers are heard and treasured. Know that your loved ones are not lost, but being gently cradled. Know that no matter how angry you get at God or how far and fast you run from Him, He will never stop holding you close to His heart. He will never stop whispering, “I love you, dear child.”

Dear Newtown, Connecticut. I wish I had words stronger than I’m sorry, more meaningful than I’m praying. I wish I could make your children come back and your schools feel like safe havens and your hugs unbroken. I wish I could drive 317 miles so I could sit with you and tell you this tonight:

God lost his baby boy, too.

He is holding you now and will never let go;

He is promising to carry you.

Dear Newtown, Connecticut,

We will pray you through.

phylliss ward December 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Thank you as your words expressed my thoughts completely. Amen.
Thomasine Landis December 15, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Dear Newtown Connecticut, Please call us if you need us there with you physically, because you have the whole world with you spiritually.
christina csillag December 15, 2012 at 09:11 PM
That was beautiful"!!!
tracystough December 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
What an amazing letter! Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel and would like to convey! So beautifully written and meaningful. Thank you Emily.
Kate December 16, 2012 at 12:53 AM
This is probably the MOST PROFOUND statement/letter I have ever read in my entire life. Beyond meaningful. God is EVER so present in this letter. Thank you for sharing this!
Dave B December 16, 2012 at 02:42 AM
too little too late, evil has struck and can not be defeated, Merry Christmas.
Ben Miller December 16, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Really nice, Dave. Classy.
Lynette Rehbein December 16, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Shattered are we as mere onlookers. I cannot comprehend the shear horror that community is experiencing, but want them to know how deep my love has been touched and how I am pouring all of that love to them, for them. The entire country is supporting them now, I hope they know this
jackson black December 16, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Here comes the ban on assault rifles..If more people were armed, he could have been taken down. In texas where its open carry this would have never happened..
jackson black December 16, 2012 at 01:47 PM
People kill people, not guns
Martha Cox Popichak December 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
So tired of that argument. Guns are in the hands of SO Many sick people.
Anonymous December 16, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Evil has already been defeated. It is called the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He said "It is finished". Yes, on earth people still have the free will to sin and do evil, but those who trust in the Lord Jesus will have victory in Jesus. Our purpose here on earth is not to have "heaven on earth" or even peace for Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble...but I have defeated the world". We are here to make a choice....for or against Jesus. I pray that you will realize that evil can NEVER win. The worst anyone could do to a child or believer in Jesus is kill their body which then sends them immediately in the presence of the Lord and then they have eternity in a sinless heaven to live. Energy cannot be destroyed and evil people (those who rejected the Lord Christ) will spend a Godless eternity in pain and suffering. I pray the you would accept the free gift of Jesus Christ who defeated evil and paid your punishment that you deserve. Our lives here are temporary whether it is 1 day or 100 days, it will seem like nothing at all when compared to eternity.
gailm December 17, 2012 at 04:35 AM
To the people who want to make political statements, please step aside in this forum. This responce was in reference to a wonderful letter for people who are greiving. Go find that forum and babble as long as you wish. But were not interested in debates.
Martha Cox Popichak December 17, 2012 at 03:40 PM
If people need to write about their thoughts following this horrific incident, I think that is fair. It is hard to find the lines that separate because of the longstanding issues. When our president spoke last night in Newtown, he said that we must make changes to honor the memory of these victims. It is a discussion and debate that is LONG overdue. The letter from Emily Doll was eloquent and beautifully written. I thank her for her incredible sensitivity and perception.

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