Wrapped gifts. Shiny, new. Full of promise. Inside a much anticipated toy. Each parent anxious to see that shining, smiling face of their child come Christmas morning. No matter the age of your children, you still want Christmas to be special. A time of hope, promise, love and family. Sadly, there are 20 families that will still have those wrapped presents under their tree after Christmas. Parents of 20 innocent angels called to Heaven. Children whose lives were taken from them in the blink of an eye. No longer will those parents be able to gaze about their faces. Little ones who were just losing their first teeth. Their BABY teeth. Probably getting to ready to experience Christmas in all it’s true wonder and form for the first time. They were probably busy at school making gifts for their families. Tiny plaster hand prints. Their little pictures inside ornaments for the tree. Gone. All of it.
It’s easy to ask why. Why would someone do such a thing? No one will ever know the answer. To easily people are throwing out that the person was mentally ill. People who are legitimately battling a mental health issue are already all to often stigmatized, there is no need to throw a label on a mass murderer. While his state of mind may be in question, and obviously, why wouldn’t it be, but giving him mental health problem does nothing to help bring those angels back, and does harm those who are struggling with mental health issues every day. Does labeling him as having a mental health issue make what he did somehow justified? Absolutely not. Never. What was planned and carried out at the elementary school was evil in it’s purest sense. There will never be any rhyme or reason. We won’t ever go “ohh…so that’s why”….no, it doesn’t matter WHY, what matters is remembering those lost and supporting those who are suffering.
The loss of a child is something you never recover from. You survive it. I have intimate knowledge of the struggle of dealing with the death of a child. While not my own, I have seen this struggle. The inward battle that a parent faces as years go by and they are faced with guilt for going on, for eventually finding a sense of happiness, for living. It is a pain that never goes away. It’s a deep wound, that with time may lessen on the surface, but still runs deep. Painful. Aching. A loss so profound, so all consuming, it surfaces unexpectedly and drags the living down into the darkness.
People are quick to want to throw money to help. Sure, it might help to offset the expenses of the parents. The expenses of burying their babies. But what community needs is our love, our prayers and support. However they need it.
Don’t make this about politics. It’s about human beings sharing the tragedy, of being united in our grief. And perhaps to realize, that the season isn’t about what you spend or what you buy, it matters that you are in the moment. Loving your family, holding them close and making a commitment to be that way everyday.