They flood back in droves. Sounds, smells, conversations. My heart flutters, bordering on panic. I feel the buzzing in my head get louder.

The memories have been suppressed for months now.

Until yesterday.

Until someone walked into a school in Connecticut and crushed the hopes and dreams of a couple dozen families. Hundreds of lives — CHANGED. Never to be the same.

I have cried for them. I have cried for the parents who have gifts wrapped under trees and who now have to choose caskets instead of Wiis and Barbie dolls.

I have cried for me and my husband and my son and for the anger that fills my heart when I think about all the babies and children I know who won’t fulfill their potential.

I’m at a loss for words, really.

I’ve written many times about finding your Roses in December, most recently at Still Standing Magazine. Imagine my surprise when I realized that our climbing rose, that hasn’t bloomed in weeks, has bloomed during a week where we have had freezing temperatures.

It’s a reminder to me that life, like nature, is precious. We can survive the worst, just as the rose can survive the cold. But just when we think we can’t go on and that life will never look the same, we’re reminded that there is hope. It may feel far away, but there is hope.