I know the unspeakable pain that parents of children killed during Tuesday's Texas school shooting are experiencing right now. I also know what they will endure for the rest of their lives.
My son, Dylan, my beautiful butterfly, was ripped away from me in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting nearly 10 years ago. That day I sent him to school, and he never came home.
My heart bleeds for the parents whose children are not coming home and for the families of the adults who also won't be coming home. I’m overwhelmed with compassion for the Robb Elementary School community that will never be the same because of the void left by 19 innocent children and two adults.
Whenever there is a tragedy like this, I am re-traumatized.
I relive the murder of my son, his classmates and educators. The sadness and anger are crushing.
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Nearly a decade after my devastation, more parents are going through similar devastation – victims of gun violence. Sadly, this tragedy is only the latest in the dozens of mass shootings since Sandy Hook.
With each new tragedy, I feel compelled to help, to offer comfort. As I write these words, I am prepared to travel to Uvalde, Texas, to see if I can be of any use to Robb Elementary School families and the Uvalde community. I will try to talk them through the unimaginable darkness of this moment. And let them know that while it will cast shadows over the rest of their lives, even in the shadows, there can be hope.
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“Our hearts are broken; our spirit is not”: Those are the first words of the Sandy Hook Promise because they convey our pain and also our commitment to turn tragedy into transformation for others. We found our way through the darkness by working together to honor our loved ones with actions to try to prevent gun violence from taking more children from their parents.
On days like today, I am horrified and furious that America has not stopped these deadly attacks on our children. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that our country can move forward and take action if we have the courage and resolve to do so.
The families in Uvalde haven't yet taken their first steps on what will be a very long path of grief and healing. I am committed to offering support along the way – and to taking concrete steps to try to prevent more parents from suffering in this way.
Gun violence and school shootings shouldn’t happen. Every child who goes to school should come home. Together we can stop these atrocities – but only if we join together and commit to creating positive, sustainable change.
Nicole Hockley is co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise – which works to end gun violence against children – and the mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy on Dec. 14, 2012.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sandy Hook mom grieves Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, children deaths