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I usually let my kids choose their own school clothes, but Monday of last week, I laid their things out for them. Looking for green and white (the Sandy Hook school colors that students were wearing in tribute to those killed) had a very solemn feeling, the way it feels when you go to the back of your closet for the "black dress." Not the "little black dress," but the black dress -- the one you wear only when you've lost someone ... the one you try to hide when you take it off -- hoping that if you can't see it, you'll never need it again. And then you need it ... and in spite of your best efforts to pretend it doesn't exist, it has made its way to the front of your closet. You're mad at it almost, for having the nerve to show up again, uninvited.
It feels sickening and surreal to step into it once more, as if it is wearing you instead of the other way around, but you finally give in and let it take over. It never quite feels right, this dress that you didn't want to buy. The seams must be crooked; the tag is itchy ... the black is too dark. You go through the motions of your day counting down the minutes until you can remove this horrible, ill-fitting thing, and when it's finally time ... thank God, when it's finally time to dry clean and hide this awful dress, the tears come ... and you realize that the problem wasn't the dress at all.
God bless Sandy Hook Elementary School and heaven's newest angels.
TIFFANIE RAE JOHNSON
First Published December 27, 2012 12:00 am