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As funerals begin, Newtown residents struggle to regain routine

Signs support the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut Sunday, December 16, 2012.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Under a cold drizzle on a grey morning, residents of Newtown groped for a way back toward weekday routines, never forgetting the grim work that lies ahead.

On Monday the town will bury two of the children killed in Friday's shooting, Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, both 6. They are the first of a terrible procession of funerals that will take place here in the coming days.

At Honan Funeral Home, the lights were on early Monday morning as the staff prepared for the funeral of Jack Pinto this afternoon. A family business founded in 1903, it sits in a three-story white clapboard house on Main Street, its door garlanded for the holidays.

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Across the street at Newtown General Store and Delicatessen, a family arrived from West Haven, Connecticut, their eyes rimmed with red. A young woman in a black-and-white dress said they were relatives of Jack Pinto's father. "It's just so unreal," she said, crying and hugging a reporter. "There are no words."

At the General Store, a cozy place offering egg-and-cheese sandwiches, homemade jam and local collectibles, the staff informed customers the coffee was free today. A man from Los Angeles had called and paid for it, his gesture of support for the town.

Barbara Lynch came in to buy a newspaper and a scarf. She lives nearby, on a hill behind the local cemetery. She said she saw an excavator and a black car there this morning. Seeing that, she said, made her want to flee, not wanting to be an observer to such suffering.

"Nobody is prepared for this," she said.

Schools in Newtown were closed Monday, but parents in neighbouring towns found their morning drop-offs far more emotional than normal.

Some parents dabbed their eyes as they pulled into school parking lots. Some embraced friends as they watched their children trudge through the front door. Some felt reassured by the presence of a policeman at the front door while others lamented what he represented.

At Frank A. Berry School in the neighboring town of Bethel, Tracy O'Hara could barely speak as she waved goodbye to her son and daughter, ages six and seven.

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"I nearly threw up this morning thinking about this moment," she said once she'd regained her composure. "We're scared. You hear about copycats. One part of me hopes the cops stay here for good. But I also don't want them here at all, like the way it used to be."

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About the Authors
U.S. Correspondent

Joanna Slater is an award-winning foreign correspondent for The Globe based in the United States, where her focus is business and economic news and New York City.Her career includes reporting assignments in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In 2015, she was posted in Berlin, Germany, where she covered Europe’s refugee crisis. More

National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

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