The shock is wearing off. The horror never will. The ache remains.
Wherever you go, whatever you are doing, there is a pervasive sadness that resides just below the surface. Sometimes you see evidence of it, but often the depth of our despair runs silent, deep and personal.
On Friday, at 9:30 a.m., bells across the state and across the country, rang 26 times in memory of the children and the heroes. Each toll was an arrow to the heart. After the final chimes had faded into the gloom and rain, the funerals resumed.
Connecticut is not a large state. Towns are lines on a map, not boundaries that separate us. Everything that happens here is local. We have never shared a more difficult time.
You can see it at the malls, where the aisles are crowded but the spirit is sparse.
You can see it when people who have not seen each other meet, the tragedy being the thing they must acknowledge before they can move on to anything else.
You can see it in the preoccupied gazes of those who are suddenly left to the torture of their private thoughts.
There is occasional laughter to be sure, but it is fleeting, its aftermath tinged with a trace of guilt.
The mood is reminiscent of 9/11: people trying to go about their lives but really just going through the motions. Hearts are not in it, because hearts are broken.
What has magnified the cruelty of this moment is that the tragedy occurred so close to Christmas. Christmas is about kids, and Santa, and brightly wrapped presents under Christmas trees, many of which stood unadorned this past week.
We see children differently since the day the world changed. Our gazes linger longer on them. They bring smiles to our faces more quickly now, and sometimes tears to our eyes because they soon remind us of those we will never forget.
On Wednesday night, the Newtown High girl's basketball team played rival Masuk. Newtown High School's principal called the game "A tiny piece of normal."
It's time to decorate the Christmas tree.
Read Jim Shea's blog at http://www.courant.com/tooshea, follow him at @jimboshea, and watch his television commentaries on FOX CT.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times