CHOOSE LOVE. | Serena Dyer



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Sandy Hook



Over the last 12 years, I have watched as two of my siblings each welcomed four children into the world, children that I consider the loves of my life. Most recently, I have witnessed the  miracle of life again as some of my closest friends have become mothers and fathers to beautiful little babies too. Each of my friends and family members that have become parents have changed, forever altered as their hearts now walk around outside of them, laughing, crying, playing, dancing, singing, and going to school.

It is the going to school part that brings me to write this post today. One year ago tomorrow, 20 precious, loveable and adorable little children went to their school, said goodbye to their moms and dads, blew kisses from the school bus, only to never walk out of the classroom again. When you hear about a child dying from a gun shot, usually you hear something like “that child was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” In this case, these kids were in the right place, at the right time, but a sick person with an arsenal of weapons and bullets was able to get to them anyway.

This is not a message about despair, so stick with me, as I know reading about senseless deaths of little children is hard to do. It is basically impossible to imagine it- I have tried- one of my nieces and one of my nephews were the same age as the Sandy Hook children who died that day- and I looked at them with tears bubbling out of my eyes and I. Just. Couldn’t. Imagine. Lifeless 6 year old bodies lying amongst their crayons and winter boots, juice boxes and drawings is beyond our comprehension. So is the reason why. I don’t have an answer for that- I don’t think any of us ever will.

A few weeks ago, I met a woman named Scarlett Lewis whose 6 year old son Jesse died in his classroom, with his classmates, on that day. Nine students survived in his classroom because Jesse saw the gunman’s gun jam and he yelled “run, run now, his gun jammed” according to all the surviving children whose lives he saved that day. Out of the darkness- light emerged. Jesse acted as a hero that day- a little angel who stayed by his teachers side while the gun jammed- choosing to warn his classmates, rather than make a run for it himself. Jesse is a hero.

Scarlett told me the story of Jesse’s actions that day, and she also told me that when she returned to her home after avoiding it for a few weeks in the aftermath of the shooting, she saw that Jesse had left her one final message. Scribbled in the chalkboard they had at home were the words “nurturing, healing, love.” These words were not part of Jesse’s normal language, probably not part of most six year olds language.  Scarlett felt that Jesse had left her a message- a lesson she needed to begin teaching to school children and adults alike- the message that in every part of our day, we have the choice to Choose Love. The shooter, Adam Lanza, began the idea of shooting young children at school with a thought. A thought to hurt, a thought to kill. Scarlett feels that if we all taught our children that we have a choice, a choice to choose thoughts of love or thoughts of hate, a choice to turn our thoughts of hate into thoughts of love, her son may just be alive today.

I ask each of you, in honor of those precious little people who died that day, and the six adults who tried to save them but lost their lives as well, to commit to once a day, turning a thought of hate or anger into a thought of love. I promise to do the same.  I promise to choose Love.

In honor of:

Jesse Lewis, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Olivia Engel, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

James Mattoli, 6

Josephnie Gay, 7

Caroline Previdi, 6

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Chase Kowalski, 6

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Grace McDonnell, 7

Emilie Parker, 6

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47

Mary Sherlach, 56

Rachel D’Avino, 29

Anne Murphy, 52

Victoria Soto, 27

Lauren Rousseau, 30


  1. nicole

    December 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    love. wonderful words. we have friends who live in newtown. so heartbreaking. we shall choose love.

  2. Joel

    December 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Beautiful words! They do honor these innocents whose lives were taken away from them in such a senseless way. We need to remember that we all DO have a choice every moment of our daily lives. Love does make a difference. Nelson Mandela was a vivid example of this, when he helped his entire nation to heal and move on from all the wrong that had been committed on so many human beings for centuries. Thank for sharing your kind and wise thoughts with us. Namaste.

  3. Rachel Denning

    December 14, 2013 at 1:33 am

    This is beautiful. Thanks for providing a moment for me to reflect on things that matter most.

  4. Rachel Denning

    December 14, 2013 at 1:33 am

    You need some social media buttons on here so I can share 🙂

  5. Naum

    December 14, 2013 at 2:26 am


  6. parvathy

    December 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

    its the most touching reality that u awakened in me today to choose LOVE of evrything else.. thank you serena this is worth sharing dear its the most profound truth that Jesse wrote on the board. nurtuting,healing, love…

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