In the world of hospice, we deal with life and death everyday. Still, last week’s tragic event in Connecticut touches us deeply.
We deal with one patient at a time. We talk about the meaning, the significance of that one life. In most cases, we have time to talk to family members and loved ones about the patient’s approaching death. Even when death is anticipated and preparations have been made, a passing can be a traumatic event.
To us at Hope Hospice, the effect of the deaths of those precious children and the loving adults who took care of them is incomprehensible. The suddenness of the killings and the ages of the victims make this tragedy acutely painful to us all. We know that it is difficult for us, located a thousand miles away, to process the magnitude of the killings. We can only imagine how hard it is for the people of Newtown, Connecticut—parents, other family survivors and residents—to deal with it.
Those of us at Hope Hospice who are parents and, in some cases, grandparents know the joy our children bring us. Our patients particularly value the company of their grandchildren and other youngsters who are a part of their lives. The sadness we share with the nation is deep.
The classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” makes the point that one life can have a vital impact on the lives of others. We know from talking to patients and family members just how profound an effect one seemingly ordinary individual can have on the lives of family and friends. We cannot know how any of these children’s lives might’ve turned out, nor what roles they may have played in their families and their communities. We only know that they were taken too soon.
The how and the why of this tragedy remain to be determined and debated. In time, the grief will recede. But we will always maintain a place in our hearts for the victims of Newtown. Those poor little kids.