December 23, 2012
I originally wrote this brief piece right after President Obama’s speech earlier in Newtown. The community is rather affluent so I don’t know how I could help them other than with my deepest empathy with the loss of those children. In all honesty, I also wrote it for myself, for my own catharsis. Our son Kane, 17 years old, died in an automobile accident over five years ago.
Tonight president Obama made a heartfelt speech in Newtown to the parents and community that lost so many children in a senseless violent attack on an elementary school. My heart goes out to them and the pain they are feeling.
I know a thing or two about that pain, the loss of a child. Any death, be it a stranger, neighbor or even a relative is painful. Most all of us, whether we want to think of it or not, will suffer the loss of our parents. We will bury them or deal with their death as we can. It is the natural order of things and somehow embedded in our DNA. It is hard and it hurts, but even harder, even more painful is the loss of a child.
The death of a child is completely different. I don’t think how a child dies matters, be it illness, accident or homicide. Dead is dead. But losing a child is different fundamentally than any other death. The death of a child is the death of the future. You don’t get to see him grow up, rather he is frozen in time. She doesn’t grow up, he doesn’t go the prom, she doesn’t graduate, he doesn’t marry, she doesn’t have children. They don’t because they aren’t.
A dear friend commented “the Newtown parents have joined us in a club we would have given our lives to avoid belonging to. We know what they are feeling and we are sad for them and angry on their behalf. And we can honor them and our own lost children by staying that way.”
When your child dies, the future dies, and it hurts in a way that can’t be imagined. Tomorrow we can talk about how to work as a society to reduce these deaths. Tonight we grieve.