I read a blog entry today from Jackie Flaherty at Letters & Journals. It touched me in a way few have.
A lot of people have forgotten already about the Sandy Hook tragedy but if you've ever lost a beloved, whether that person was a child, a parent, a sibling, or very dear friend, you know the ones left behind haven't forgotten. As someone who has lost two children, a sister, a parent, and a few friends and co-workers, I know that even as time passes, the grief will stay. It will change and hopefully be less sharp and less destructive but it won't leave.
From day to day it will be different. Sometimes it will be so intense the bereaved will think they can't function and perhaps they really can't. Other times they may smile and laugh and the realization that they're almost happy again may bring guilt. They'll learn to live with the grief, guilt and other feelings and will incorporate those feelings into the person they are, the person they become. To some, it will look as though they're "moving on" but in reality, they're just surviving, managing each day, each hour, each moment as it comes.
When my daughter died in 1998, for months going into years I received notes, letters, and cards from people I "knew" via the Internet. Most of those people I'd never met but the mail meant so very much to me. I still have each letter and card and occasionally I remove them from their resting place and read them, savoring the feel of the paper, each postmark, each scribbled or beautifully written line. Every one of those pieces of mail is a tangible reminder that my daughter mattered, that she lived, that she died, and that she isn't forgotten.
Jackie's idea to send a card and short note to each family of the victims at Sandy Hook is a lovely one. I'm going to use her idea, including sending the mail over a period of time so I don't feel hurried and I can spend a bit of time thinking of each victim and their family.
Thank you, Jackie, for such a heartfelt way to let the families know they and their loved ones aren't forgotten.