It seems to be universally true what Lesléa Newman writes about her mother dying in hospice. They wait until you’re not there to go. I awoke to my brother’s labored breath around 3 a.m. I jumped up from the fold-out blue leather chair bed where I’d been dozing beside my sweet sibling, fading in and out of dreams of when we were young and climbing on trees in the woods. We were strong in muscle and in spirit.
I remember the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting quite well. It was one of the worst news announcements I’ve heard in my life. Because of where I was when it happened, the hideous massacre is forever connected to my own family trauma that was happening during December 2012. My wife and I were on our way to have a meeting with my brother’s medical team about his condition: severe acute pancreatitis. At this time, he’d been in the hospital for only two weeks and was already in a medically induced coma.
The news of the shooting came over the radio. My wife and I were in a grief-filled fog of shock and horror. Tears bulged out of our eyes like marbles, not quite spilling on our cheeks. As new parents we were aghast at the thought of something like this happening to our little ones, and we each felt our heart being ripped in solidarity with the parents of the dead children of Sandy Hook Elementary.