My friends and family will tell you that I am not someone who can’t think of words to say or to write. In fact, when I was a toddler, my mom tells me that folks couldn’t understand me, so she took me to the doctor and was told that my tongue was too big for my mouth! Well I grew into my tongue and have become quite the communicator. But today I can’t think of anything else to write about except the heartbreak that I’m feeling for the Green family in Tucson after that monster killed their precious little girl and five other innocent victims on Saturday.
Perhaps it is the beautiful picture in the newspaper of little Christina with her look-alike Mom that gets me. Maybe it is the fact that I have a beautiful 9-year-old girl full of her own big dreams and a lot of promise. And the photo of the family of four with big brother, Dallas smiling so big, reminds me how much my son truly loves his little sis, even when she gets on his last nerve.
Christina was taken away from this earth in a horrific instant and she was so full of promise. The paper tells us that she was elected to her school’s student council, so she attended the Safeway town hall meeting to see how politics work in the real world.
She was even born on September 11, 2001 and thought of her own birthday to be symbolic of our country’s patriotism. As I read each detail in the newspaper article, I cried imagining how her mother and father are holding up. And the word promise keeps popping back into my mind.
Doesn’t it feel like when we receive our new child that we also receive the promise that they will outlive us? And when the most important promise in your world is broken, even if it is an assumed promise…what do you do with that hurt and anger?!
Having lost my younger brother 8 years ago, I know first-hand the raw and gut-wrenching pain that our family felt in huge overwhelming waves that took our breath away again and again….and again and again. It felt endless, hollow, surreal and truly indescribable.
As I read all about sweet Christina, the article calls her “very patriotic” and “spirited and spunky.” I relate to that description because my 9-year-old has been called spirited. In fact, my gal pals and I have discussed how absolutely amazed we are that our children are so beyond their years in many ways.
Sadly, part of that is due to the fast world we live in where my own daughter now grieves for a little girl in Tucson she never knew. A fellow 3rd grader who was born just six weeks before she was in 2001. I remember being very pregnant on September 11th and feeling afraid for my unborn child’s future. And when my baby girl was delivered six weeks later, she became, in my mind, a sign of hope.
I hope the Greens know just how many of us are out here shedding tears of sorrow even though we don’t know them personally. I pray that they feel our prayers and shared grief. That our wishes of comfort are felt by them.
And I go back to my mother’s words that were spoken to us in those first dark weeks after my brother’s passing. She could see the grief and disbelief in her surviving children. She told us that we can choose to be angry and ask why, why would our Shane be taken from us?! Or we can embrace the gift that he was to our family for 22 years. She told us to feel thankful for the gift of Shane, even though it wasn’t nearly long enough for us. She also reminded us that Shane was now flying free and that we are the ones in pain here on earth. I still felt furious and that lasted a very long time, but her words did give me comfort.
To the beautiful Green family, John, Roxanna and sweet brother Dallas, whom the article says was his sister’s close friend, please know that there are so many of us crying genuine tears for you.
I couldn’t get through the article this morning without going through a handful of tissues. Your beautiful princess will live on inside of each of you and her story will be remembered as your sweet girl who was already making a difference in this world.
Reading about her inspires me to follow her example and take my own daughter to donate time in a soup kitchen to help the less fortunate, just like thoughtful Christina did. Her story motivates me to continue to support my children’s goals and dreams that may help to improve this messy world someday.
Again I am at a loss for words when I think of how to close this column so I will do it with a prayer.
God, please be with the Green family and all of the families and friends of Saturday’s victims. Please let the work that little Christina did on this earth inspire other children to be patriotic and spirited, to help others as she did and to remind all of us that we are not promised our days in quantity, but to remember the quality of each day as this 9-year-old seemed to already know with her words and actions.
Thank you for the inspiring legacy that she has left to my children and to me as a mother to remember to embrace every moment and to support my own kids as they grow to make a difference in this world. And last but not least, please let the Greens feel our arms wrapped around them in this time of great sorrow, even if they don’t know us personally, please let them know that so many of us are holding them up in prayer. Thank you for the gift of little Christina Green.