This week, some families of the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting appeared before a Connecticut task force to request that the 911 tapes from that event not be released to the public. As the one year anniversary of the shooting approaches, the victims' families and the people of Newtown continue on a long journey of recovery. Veronique Pozner, mother of 6-year-old victim Noah Pozner, talks about the difficult early days of that recovery process.
"My husband and I showed up at the firehouse to claim what we initially thought would be three children. We found our daughters very quickly but it became apparent fairly soon afterwards that Noah’s entire class was unaccounted for. And I knew even before that, I knew from the pandemonium, parents on cell phones, people screaming, police cruisers; that something of biblical proportions had happened. I just didn’t know what. But I knew my son was dead.
The morning of the funeral, I knew, was going to be probably the hardest day of my life.
The eulogy just poured out of me.I just wanted to convey to the people who were there, who didn’t all know him well or know him at all, who he was, you know, that in the end, he was a child, you know. And so a lot of the things that I said about him, probably people find in their own children. To drive that home I thought was really important for me - the who he was.
With Judaism, for people who are not familiar, there’s a seven day period of mourning which is called Shiva. And people come to the home, friends, members of the synagogue, family. They bring food. They bring comfort. They bring conversation. Sometimes they just bring their presence. But it was such [an] unprecedented, hard time in my life that it was good to have other people kind of take charge and do stuff.
One of the evenings of the Shiva, I did light a candle for my son and for the shooter, Adam Lanza.
It’s something I did more for Noah than I did for myself ‘cause he never held a grudge about anything. You know, he would get into a fight with his sister but he would forgive very quickly. He’d be right back to doing whatever they were doing before the argument. He just wasn’t – he liked to see the best in people. I just did it on his behalf. I don’t think I’m there yet, but I was trying to be there and put myself in his place.
I think – this may sound cliché, but I do believe forgiveness takes time. You have to process an event before you can forgive. And I haven’t processed this yet. I mean there’s still a lot of denial. So I’m not there.
I'm not there yet myself completely. It’s tough."