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When It Hits Close to Home

This one felt different. It was closer to home than ever before. This time, my children are old enough to see the news and ask questions.

We live in Broomfield, Colorado. It’s a small city about fifteen miles outside of Boulder. Both towns are relatively quiet, filled with families, professionals, and college students. While crime is not unheard of, it’s rare to hear of significant happenings.

Until yesterday.

As has become a common American story, our community was rocked by a senseless shooting. For reasons we don’t yet (and may never) know, a man walked into a grocery store and took ten lives. That man shot and killed ten people who were just living their lives, doing their jobs, shopping for groceries.

While I am a step removed from the victims, this shooting felt different. It was closer to home than ever before. My children are old enough to see the news, to ask questions—to feel.

My older son came downstairs as I was watching the news today, and I couldn’t turn it off fast enough. “There are ten people dead?” he said.

All I could do was reply yes. I was unable to say anything else or try to explain.

When I asked him later if he had questions, he was struggling to understand. For most of them, all I could tell him was that I didn’t know. I don’t know why, how, WHY? something like this happens. Who is the person who committed this crime? Why didn’t he just rob the store? The questions are simple when you are six. All I know for sure is that ten families went to bed last night, one person smaller.

We struggle for words, and we struggle with emotions. We don’t have any answers except tears and anger, sorrow. And our children are there with us, trying to process the unthinkable—the loss of life. How one gets to that place and point?

In the absence of reason, we find love and meaning. We find our “Boulder Strong”. We find love and community. We work to pull together and help one another to cope. To support those who’ve lost loved ones. We will rebuild.

But we shouldn’t have to.

Rest in Peace:

Officer Eric Talley
Neven Stanisic
Rikki Olds
Tralona Bartkowiak
Suzanne Fountain
Teri Leiker
Kevin Mahoney
Lynn Murray
Jody Waters
Denny Stong

*For information on how to talk to your child about mass shootings, consider reading these articles:

  • When There’s Hate, Remember Love is Stronger

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  • Five More Minutes

    Five more minutes has forever been the lament of my son. It started with bedtimes when he was young, and continued through to high school.

  • The Magical Age When Parenting Gets Easier

    I’ve asked myself countless times over my 15 years of parenting, “When the bleep is this going to get easier?”

  • Sometimes You Just Need Some Rainbows

    I’ll never forget when an adult in my life told me “rainbows are for sissies.” I was a theater kid, remember? We WERE different.

  • 20 Life Lessons I Want my Kids to Learn

    As a psychologist, I often reflect on the things that make people happy (or rather, “content.” No one is actually “happy” all the time). Through my work I get glimpses into the things that matter—the behaviors and ways of thinking that lead to satisfaction, and those that lead to misery.  And

  • How to Talk to Your Child About Death

    What do you do when there is a death that directly impacts your child? A person or a pet that is physically part of their life?


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