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    Posted December 9, 2013 by
    New Milford, Connecticut

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    Honoring Newtown: A year later from a Connecticut Teen


    Written by 15 year old Connecticut blogger Ally Del Monte.  Ally blogs at  Ally lives 20 minutes away from Newtown.


    On December 14, my world changed. In a few hours, whatever innocence I had was lost. I knew fear,real fear. I knew sorrow, real sorrow. I knew confusion and hurt and pain and grief and the soul stealing certainty that I was never really safe anywhere. I wanted to curl up at home with my family and stay there where I felt the safest and hide. I didn’t. Because I found something I thought was lost. I found strength and compassion and love. I found HOPE.


    My hope was to heal. My Mom said this:


    I don’t believe you ever heal from something as horrific as this. Healing usually means returning to the previously “whole”state. and I do not think we will ever be whole again. There will always be a small piece missing. I don’t think that anyone in Connecticut, or even our nation will be the same as we were “before’. But I can become more. What I can do is change my small part of the world, to share a little bit of the good, the pure, the love, the innocence that was such a part of the beautiful children and heroic adults that died.


    She’s right. So I am trying my best to heal as I stand up for others. I’ve practiced the #26 Acts of Kindness, but to me, its been more like 365 Days of kindness. I have been trying every day to find something beautiful to be thankful for.


    You can talk all you want about gun control, video games, mental illness and even bullying but not one of these were the sole cause of the death of these people. Yes, each of them have a place in tragedy. I do not place blame on any one thing. I blame it on so much more.


    I blame society.


    We’ve become a nation full of people who care more about ourselves than taking care of each other. Where the “what’s in it for me” matters more than “how can I help?” We are worried more about fighting to get to the top then remembering to lift others up. Then something like this happens are we all take a good look at ourselves and think, “Wow. What have we become?”


    Newtown, Connecticut, my neighboring town, was flooded with donations. People sent money, flowers, teddy bears, Christmas Trees and enough stuff to FILL buildings and storage units until the town had to gently say, “Enough, please, no more”. Why did people send so much to a community that you can argue didn’t need anything other than their lost children and teachers back? Maybe it was because people wanted to show that they cared, and they were WITH Sandy Hook and to show their support. I think every single thing sent was sent with a wish or a prayer for peace and love. But the harsh true is a teddy bear isn’t going to do a thing for the poor lost children of Sandy Hook. Flowers die, candles snuff out, food is eaten or goes bad and is thrown in the trash. What is remembered is how people ACTED.


    We became a nation of friends who took care of each other. It was the little things that meant the most. The extra warm hug extending for comfort, taking a few minutes out to give a sincere compliment over a nice haircut, a beautiful smile,or a great shirt. Helping an older person to the car with their groceries. A smile across the room. Picking up a tab for the table next to you. Random “you are fabulous” letters stuck in lockers and on mirrors. Shoveling snow for others, cleaning a windshield, walking a shelter dog, being a neighbor and friend. Telling people you appreciate them. Doing a siblings chores for no reason. Wiping tears from those who are weeping. Buying a stranger a cup of coffee. Saying “I love you, often. Sitting at a lunch table with someone who normally sits alone. Befriending the new kid. Finding something wonderful and special in everyone you see, and letting them know. Being a friend.


    I plan to honor all those who were lost by honoring what they stood for: kindness, love, support, friendship and compassion. I’m not going to do 26 Acts of Kindness. I will not count. I will just do. There is no beginning or end date. As my Mom said,
    I hope I never “heal” but continue to become something more, something better, someone kinder and give more of myself.


    I know that I am one person, and I cannot change the world by myself. However, I am SURE that I can change MY PART of the world. Just imagine if everyone made small changes around them. If every single person were to simply act as a friend to all they were near, think about what a different world we would be living in.


    THAT is how to change the world.


    ***originally posted on my blog,***

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