This story was originally shared with me yesterday by my Athletic Director Kevin Skillett and his wife Renee. It is a touching reminder from their nine year-old daughter Katelyn of how we need to sit back sometimes and look at our world through a child’s eyes. I thought the story was a fitting tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. May God bless the victims, their families, and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut.
The events of last Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut have left many of our children wondering why? This story is about my nine year-old daughter Katelyn and how she took our family’s loss as a blessing for those children and adults who are now with our heavenly father.
On Tuesday, December 11th, our 13 year-old black lab Shadow passed away. Katelyn and Shadow were very close. When she was a baby, Shadow would wrap her paws around the bassinette when I left the room to watch over her while I was gone. In later years, Shadow would lay just outside her bedroom door watching over her and the rest of the family while we slept. Shadow loved to go for walks, play ball and roll in the grass. That being said, we all knew Shadow’s favorite time was with Katelyn as shown in the photo taken 09/26/12 (notice the paw wrapped around her arm). Many tears were shed. What kept us going was our faith that she was in heaven and we would someday see her again.
Friday, December 14th, it was time to pick Katelyn up from elementary school. My heart and that of all the parents I spoke with was very heavy. Each of us knew it would be important to talk with our children in some fashion about what had happened that day. We needed to make sure our children felt safe. That night, Katelyn and I spent a long time talking. We talked not only about the events in Connecticut, but things like “if she could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?” and “if she could create anything, what would it be?” I think our talk was as much for me as it was for her because I had the chance to see my daughter and talk to her while some parents in Newtown did not. Towards the end of our talk Katelyn looked at me, smiled, and said, “Mom, I know why God took Shadow to heaven. He took her and other good dogs so that when the children from Connecticut got there they would have a really great dog to be with.” I encourage you to take time to look at life through your child’s eyes. It is very simple, it’s about love.
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain