Logan’s Guardian: Poignant Sandy Hook back story

Lives cut short. Such enormous loss. So much grief

                                  Lives cut short. Such enormous loss. So much grief

This is a difficult Monday morning, as a nation reflects on the Sandy Hook / Newtown Connecticut school massacre. Six adults and twenty children (all of them, 6 or 7 years old) were slaughtered as they started school on Friday.

Emilie Parkers Dad, Robbie

Depth of despair: Emilie Parker’s Dad, Robbie

It’s possible to have empathy for distraught parents and families and to imagine their grief, but it is impossible to experience the depth of their despair. Somehow, it seems unfair that we are powerless to shift some of their overwhelming grief onto our own shoulders.

There are many tributes on TV and across the country with photos of individual victims and a vignette about a favorite color, hobby, school work or their families. But here is a simple story in the Los Angeles Times that has no photo, yet it is a profoundly emotional read. (This is triggering—It left me shattered)…

The family of one victim, Madeline Hsu, has not provided a photo of their child. So far, news bureaus have refrained from using school photos. The family does not want her face broadcast in the media. They are grieving privately, with a police cruiser outside their home to discourage reporters or well-wishers from bothering them.

Across the street lives a little boy, Logan Dryer, who is 5. He is one year younger than Madeline and suffers from panic attacks. (He does not yet know about the shooting). Since the start of the school year, he has been afraid of going to school, especially afraid of leaving on the school bus. But with the help of Madeline and another shooting victim, Carolyn Previdi, he has been getting onto the bus on most mornings. Madeline promised Logan’s mom that she and Carolyn would be “Logan’s Guardians” and demonstrate to him that there is nothing to be scared of. Each morning, they take over for Logan’s Mom and hold his hand as they wait for the bus. Then, these two girls — both are dead now — would sit next to Logan and help him to be calm, happy and engaged on the bus ride to school.

According to the Times article, Madeline and Carolyn’s parents didn’t know that their daughters had taken on the role of guardians to a panic prone child. In fact, they had never met the Dryers. The girls did this of their own volition.

Dawn Hochspring and Mary Sherlach

Dawn Hochsprung (Principal) and Mary Sherlach

Once Logan arrived at school, two caring adults took over from the girls, holding Logan when he needed it and whispering away his fears: Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung and school psycholo-gist, Mary Sherlach. But Fate took another gut wrenching turn for little Logan, because these two adults were the first shooting victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The killer had apparently fingered them as targets from the onset.

Now, Logan’s mom asks herself the really tough question: How can she explain to Logan that all four of his guardian angels were killed without cause and without warning? These were very individuals who brushed away fear and gave a 5 year old the strength to go to school. They assured him that it was safe to do so. And it wasn’t.

Ironically, Logan did not get on the bus last Friday. He had a panic attack. That was just before a shooter entered his school and began killing.

How can anyone read this story and not cry? Is safety and illusion? How will Logan’s family eventually explain this to the frightened boy? How can he believe in anything now?

Other back stories, selected by AWildDuck:

10 thoughts on “Logan’s Guardian: Poignant Sandy Hook back story

  1. How can anyone read this and not cry?!
    I’m going to hug my son, Thomas, real hard right now.
    — Elina

  2. I don’t know how many civilized countries allow their citizens to own and use assault weapons. We must change our country to disallow these horrible things of war to be privately owned!

  3. This entire tragedy is so heart-wrenching, and when it seems it can’t get any worse, it becomes even more heart-wrenching the more details emerge. I can only imagine the pain these families must be feeling. I imagine, too, what it must be like to be the shooter’s family, to have lost a son/brother and a mother/friend/sister and to know the role that each played in this tragedy.

    You know, Ellery, that I try very hard to extend compassion to everyone, but it’s difficult to do so with the perpetrator in this situation. I try to think of him as he must have been as a little boy, perhaps at this very school not so many years ago. I try to think of the pain and disconnection he must have been feeling to lead him to do such an unspeakable thing. I hope that if we keep our hearts open and allow our actions to be motivated by love and compassion, as the adults and children in his life did for little Logan, we can help prevent this type of thing in the future.

    A friend shared a link at which there was this quote from “Mister” Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

    That’s what I’m trying to remember after Sandy Hook.

  4. Thank you for sharing this article.

    I work at a major pharmacy near Chicago. Today, as I worked, a mother came in telling me the story of her own son. I listened and cried along side her. When she was done, we hugged. There is TOO much of this! I often see mothers and fathers going thru the trauma of violence. And not just urban violence, it’s rural too. Something needs to be done for them.But in a weak economy, Mental Health assistance is one of the first things to be cut! We need to hug our children a little more and be slow to anger. Above all, we need to tell our families how much we love them and how proud of them we are.

    • Cyndy addresses the root of the problem. Her approach has the potential to truly solve the problem. It wouldn’t exist if we all “love one another”.

      Unfortunately, the decay in family structure & values is perplexing and difficult to stem. We cannot legislate and enforce a quality standard for parenting–nor a moral imperative to use kindness instead of cold shoulders or explosive violence within families.

      I like your approach, Cyndy, but do you know of anyone with the magic want to make it spread?

      • “We cannot legislate and enforce a quality standard for parenting–nor a moral imperative to use kindness instead of cold shoulders or explosive violence within families.”

        Why should we restrict ourselves to only actions within families? Why not strive in each of our interactions—at home, at work, out to dinner with friends, in the line at the grocery store, behind the wheel on the highway—to devote ourselves to kindness and compassion? This is what Cyndy did in the situation she described: showed compassion to a woman in a pharmacy.

        There’s no one magic person that can spread compassion. Everyone can share compassion. And since it’s easier to be compassionate when we’re surrounded by it, that compassion will beget compassion. We just have to get the ball rolling.

  5. Makes me so sad what Logan will have to endure now that he has lost his best friends.

  6. Remember Ana Grace Marquez-Greene in her name on the scholarship for the United Negro College Fund.

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