Years after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I sit here remembering the pain in my heart after hearing the news. I was alone at work on a Friday, 30 miles from Newtown, Conn. I remember crying, pacing, trying to figure out how to go on with my day. It hurt most of all when I thought about all of those parents searching for their children, and more so later when I learned about a family in the town where I worked at the time, who lost their child.
I can’t begin to imagine what the mothers, fathers, grandparents or neighbors of Newtown, Conn. feel but I know that they are capable of inspiring others to see a future. This video about Emilie Parker, a little girl who was killed on that day, and her family will bring you to tears but I ask you to really listen to what her mother is saying (even if you’re not fond of the religious tone).
“… that’s the only way good can be in us, is if we freely choose it over all else.”
– Alissa Parker
The events of December 14, 2012 quickly became a hot political topic. Connecticut reacted relatively quickly by passing a large violence prevention and mental health law. Pundits debated the legality, purpose and history of such an endeavor. But the sadness that I feel deep down as I write isn’t about politics, it’s about humanity. It’s about empathy. It’s about looking for a light at the end of a dark tunnel.
The Jesse Lewis Choose Love foundation started with this message:
Before my 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis lost his life at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012, he had written a message on our kitchen chalkboard: Nurturing Healing Love. The words “nurturing” and “healing” are a part of the definition of compassion across almost all cultures. Love is the foundation on which happy and healthy lives are built.
The fact that Alissa Parker, Scarlett Lewis and other parents can get out of bed, talk about their story in public and compel others to see the good in the world is incredible.
Their work reminds me that there is a before and an after to keep in our hearts and minds. The memory might always bring us to tears, but it’s what keeps us human. It’s what brings us together to help build a future that honors the lives we lost.