Monday, December 17, 2012
It Takes a Village
We've been hearing about it for four days, but it still it seems to terrible to be true: 28 people in Newtown, Connecticut, 20 of them just little children ages 5 through 7, are dead after one man's depraved rampage which ended only when he took his own life. This nation, for all the deadly massacres we've experienced in recent years, can never grow accustomed to this sort of news. This nation couldn't help but be shocked and shaken by the slaughter of children who hadn't even reached the age of reason.
As a parent myself, I join in the particular disbelief of other parents who are struggling to imagine what the families of all those killed must be going through now, having thought when they last saw their loved one that Friday was just a day like any other. As a mother who was blessed to spend my child's last moments on earth with him, holding him and comforting him in his hour of death, my heart aches for those parents who now know their child's last moments were filled with terror and fear. I can only pray for their comfort and healing and thank God for my own blessings.
President Obama, to the dismay of NFL fans consumed by the regular season crunchtime, interrupted a competitive, highly-anticipated Sunday evening game to address the nation. He read the names of each victim. He reminded us that each child is precious, and that every American adult has a duty to all of our children to protect them as best we can.
With all of my heart, I believe President Obama's words and I believe in his sincerity. It warms my heart to know that a man with such tremendous responsibility would take the time to acknowledge the grief and the devastation that the people in Newtown are experiencing. I was tremendously moved to hear our President speak not as a politician, but as a father.
I also believe with all of my heart the words of Monsignor Frost's homily on Sunday afternoon. He reminded us that in a culture where mothers can turn against their own children in their womb, we cannot be surprised that we have groomed a man with so little regard for the innocent human lives taken on Friday December 14, 2012. Said Mother Theresa, "The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters." Both Monsignor Frost and President Obama are right: We owe our children better than what we are doing for them. We owe them our best efforts at building a better world. And it is a responsibility all adults share because as our President noted, "We are all parents."
I know I risk being accused of "politicizing" this event by daring to see the connection between what happened last Friday, and abortion. Make no mistake that I am rattled by those events not just as a mother who is still grieving the loss of her own departed child, but as someone who is still wrestling with the loss of my dear Sean at his own hand nearly eight years ago. I cannot think about the Newtown shooting with anything but a heavy heart. Nothing about what happened last week is rational or sensible or simple.
I have been blessed to have witnessed this blog develop into a tremendous platform. My heart finds some reprieve in knowing that my son's life, and our family's story, has inspired so many. I am grateful for the opportunity to implore readers to heed our President's words and make the protection of all children, born and unborn, a priority: "This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged."