This latest school shooting really got to me. If the littlest angels don’t make us do something about gun control in this country nothing will. If it doesn’t shake down to the core of selfishness that says it’s my right to bear arms and nothing should stop me from doing so we are not the country and the people I think we are. Before I write any further, I believe in the constitution and the right to bear arms, I also believe in the right of a six year old to grow up and flourish and get to be a seven year old. There has to be some sort of way for those two things to not be mutually exclusive.

The real reason for this blog post is to beg the parents of the Sandy Hook children to make sure their children have all of the mental health benefits and aid that is surrounding them at the moment. My particular favorite path to mental health is art therapy but whatever works take advantage of it.

When I was 6 years old my brother died on the operating table while being operated on for having a hole in the heart, a few months later my father had a car accident which left him in the hospital for several months and my mother had a mental breakdown. I am very fuzzy on the details but my childhood was spent with the specter of death, despair and decay all around me. Back then there was a stigma that surrounded mental health and I was never treated by a therapist or any mental health practitioner.

I learned to smile, when I would go to school hungry in dirty clothes I would smile, when the kids would make fun of me and bully me I would smile, when I was around adults I would make them smile. I was a child of trauma and it changed my entire life in a way I was unaware of until late last year when I decided to end my marriage of 25 years. Don’t let the smile on the face of your children make you believe that they are ok and don’t need therapy, they still do. They will never forget that day in their psyche, they may appear to forget it in their everyday lives but they will hold on to the grief forever inside their fragile little minds if they do not get it out today.

Children go through a lot every day even if they don’t have trauma in their lives, they lose pets, they lose friends, their parents fight and they worry about whether their classmates will like them. The children of Sandy Hook will have the extra burden of fear, sadness, grief and horror mixed in with the everyday traumas of being a six year old. All we really have to do is look at the teenagers who were 6 on 9/11 to see that these kinds of traumas have an impact on kids whether they are close to the trauma or not. They were either inspired by those events or they are lost.
I’m not a psychiatrist nor a therapist nor anybody who can actually help these children; I am a hand embroidery artist. Hand embroidery helped to save my life and keep me alive. It’s a slow, meditative art which speaks to and from my soul. Earlier this year when I stopped embroidering for a while I had a nervous breakdown from which I am just now recovering. I am living all my losses at once and making peace with the 6 year old that lost so much. It’s very hard, in fact it is hell but I get stronger every day and am trying to deal with the depression and pain of that six year old without medication and that is very difficult too. I was blessed with incredible people of strength during my childhood and a wonderful extended family that took care of me. I did not however get mental health treatment and those losses lived with me every day of the last 40 something years. Don’t let them live inside your children. Get them the help they need. Let them feel the pain and move on from it. Suppressing it only makes it a burden you carry onward every day with a sparkling smile.

May God Bless all the children of Sandy Hook, may they live long and loving lives and may they find the help they need when they need it so they can truly leave that horrible day behind them. May God Bless all the traumatized 6 year olds everywhere no ma