Friday morning we awoke early to texts, emails and calls from family and friends around the country checking to see if our kids were ok. The night before, the unthinkable happened in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, part of “metro Denver” and not far from our home or from Children’s Hospital where I work. We hadn’t heard anything about the shootings until the calls and emails and texts because we were out of town and asleep when it happened. Two of our kids, 20 and 22 years old, were in Denver, and we knew they were seeing Batman at the midnight showing that fateful night.

After our initial panic call to wake the kids from sleep (thankfully they were safe in their beds at home; they had gone to another theater), my thoughts turned to my late grandfather.  When I was a third year medical student living in Manhattan, the phone in our apartment rang at 4 a.m., waking me and my roommates. It was my grandfather calling to see if I was okay. Did I mention it was 4 a.m.? Seems he had been listening to his transistor radio, unable to sleep again because of his lifelong sense of foreboding. He heard the Staten Island Ferry had crashed into another boat in choppy waters and two passengers were missing. He was just calling to make sure I wasn’t one of them. Ten million people living in NYC, and my grandfather feared I was among the missing ferry passengers.

Thousands, probably tens of thousands of kids at Batman’s midnight screening in metro Denver. OMG, were our kids safe?!! The older I get, the better I understand my grandfather.

May we create a safer world for our children so we can all sleep a little better. Our thoughts and prayers to the victims of this terrible tragedy and to their families.

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