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December 24, 2012

Lisa Madras: So grateful for my two most precious gifts

NEW CASTLE — What’s one thing could you not live without?

I don't want to do it. I don't want to see anymore or hear anymore about the Sandy Hook shooting. I certainly don't want to write about it. But I can't NOT. It's Christmas Eve, and I should be writing about that.

In a way, I am, though. I'm not going to write about how our county needs socialized health care that includes mental health care, or how we need better screening for gun ownership. Those are both important things, and maybe I'll write about them someday, because they're important to me.  But not today.

Today, I have to write about how grateful I am that my own family managed to escape a tragedy that those families in Connecticut did not. This Christmas is tinged with sadness for all of us because of that horrific massacre. It's impossible not to choke up when thinking about it, and the pain we feel for the survivors is almost overwhelming — almost as if we are grieving for our own children.

But thank God and everything that is good in the universe, we are not. This Christmas, we still have our children, and while it seems selfish in a way, we have to realize that there is no greater gift than the fact that we didn't lose our children like so many others recently have.

I'm sorry to talk about this on Christmas Eve. But I couldn't talk about anything else. I'm sitting here thinking about a heart-rending event that, although horrible, is still safely distant. I've lost enough people that I've loved in my lifetime that I can feel that pain almost like it's my own. But I've always said that the one thing I couldn't bear would be losing my children. I don't want to get any closer to feeling that pain than empathy.  Ever.

So, like many of you, I have a heavy heart this Christmas Eve. It's been heavy since that terrible Friday just a little over a week ago. But I'm so, so grateful to be watching my own 7-year-old daughter meticulously choose which cookies to leave out for Santa and watching movies with my son. I can't hold them tight enough or long enough anymore. And I will never again be as thankful for any other Christmas gift.

Merry, blessed Christmas to all of you from me and my family. Hold each other tight.

 

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