Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bitter Lessons

A cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice sits in my refrigerator, and I've decided to freeze it. Usually, I'm a make-lemonade-from-lemons person, but not this day, week, month.

As I finish my holiday preparations, I think of the twenty children from Sandy Hook who won't enjoy the gifts their parents bought/made for them. You know as well as I do that presents for them were squirreled away in attics, basements, and guest-room closets. Will their grieving parents leave the gifts where they're hidden? I wouldn't be able to look at them. Not this year.

Some bereft parents will provide a semblance of Christmas for their other children. Others will take refuge with friends or family or snatch up their kids and flee Newtown for a few days away from reminders of their loss. December will never again be for them a month of quiet anticipation and unfettered joy.

My children are grown, but I remember how exciting first-grade was for them and how eager they were to share stories of what happened in school.

This past weekend, a thoughtful man sat at my dining-room table and explained how and why he learned to shoot. He hunted for food as a child and continues that pattern as an adult. He does not, however, own a semi-automatic weapon.

Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle printed a letter from Joe Hickman, who wrote: "As an avid hunter, I enjoy my hunting guns, but I cannot fathom any reason for any non-law enforcement individual to need a very high-capacity clip for a rifle or pistol.

"The federal government regulates the number of shotgun shells--three--in our guns while duck hunting. We get three tries at a duck but 15 to 30 at humans?"

The dead in Sandy Hook will spur changes in this country's gun laws and make it easier for the mentally ill to access treatment. Eventually, I'll view those advances as lemonade wrung from the bitterest of lemons.

Right now, though, I hurt for the parents who have lost a child and for whom the holiday season will forevermore be tinged with sorrow.


Lark Howard said...

It's impossible to fathom the evil insanity that leads people to harm children. And nothing will ever make those families okay again. Sad at any time but especially in the season when we're supposed to celebrate peace, love and joy.

Louise Behiel said...

It is the most heinous crime. I watch the repeated patterns of mass murder from the safety of my home and am most grateful for the rigid controls we have on guns - all of them.
My heart bleeds for the parents and families. My sister died in a car accident when she was 15. She died on November 7, 1969. My mother has never completely healed. and her death turned some of the relationships between siblings on its ear. I don't think any of us will ever recover - and this was without the horror of Newtown.
I couldn't look at my 6 yo granddaughter without having ugly images in my mind. It certainly put life back into perspective.

thanks for your post