Upon watching this video, I wrote to someone I love:
“This is a smart video, a caring video, not a vindictive one. This is about taking a very bad thing and finding a way to find good – seek good.
“In some modest way, it’s also a confession, and mirror of our own culpability – their own, my own.
“In essence, the parents are accepting a truth: we are why Newtown happened, not that one, young, lost boy all by himself. If mental illness is separation from self, family, and community, then we all play a role – that’s what I believe, that’s one of the messages of the New Day Campaign, that is surely the message of this video.
“In a nutshell, with more love and awareness, children are less likely to be brutally shot down. With less stigma, I know Elisif would still be alive today.
“And it’s a personal regret – a personal recognition. To the question, ‘Is there anything I could have done to prevent my child’s death?’ the brave and honest answer – not guiltily, not self-loathingly, not masochistically – is ‘Yes.’ And Sandy Hook Promise and it’s message of love and awareness, and the New Day Campaign and it’s message of compassion and understanding, are a kind of amends. I am making amends (the Sandy Hook Promise parents are making amends) by building a world that if we could have seen it and built it then (as we can see so clearly today through the trails of our pain) and been afforded the opportunity to inhabit it then – if it were more of the world then – our babies would likely still be alive today: let’s make a world where if we could wind the clock our child would not be dead.
“I want to hug every single Newtown parent and say how very sorry I am. I want to also say, ‘I know something of your pain, and something of how you make sense today of still being on this earth.’ I want to say how much I admire Sandy Hook Promise. I want to say: what a brilliant, powerful name.
“Someone in that group is smart – no doubt – but what really drives it is a fire I understand. There is nothing like it.
“It’s beautiful. It’s painful. It makes a difference.”
And this, an excerpt from the long and loving return from my dear friend:
“I watch all the time for signs [my son] may be taking a turn that will send him down a dangerous path. Hoping not to have to face the regret you shared. Hoping to forestall the tragedy you have lived. Knowing I can’t know or control most things. But still determined to watch, to try and know… I’m you, maybe, before the Fall. Trying to keep Icarus aloft.”
And so are we all.