What a wonderful holiday it’s been for Inion and myself, spending all of our time with our beautiful and loving family. But, we’ve not lost focus of those who have fallen this holiday season and the victims’ families who’ve been left behind to pick up the tragic pieces of a twisted puzzle too horrific to put together.
It’s hard to continue on with some semblance of a holiday spirit, knowing that others suffer this unconscionably. Having two beautiful children, one handsome son, (15) Vincent II, and a gorgeous daughter and business partner, whom you all know, (26) Inion (Ginger Brooke), I cannot imagine, the pain and utter devastation these parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends are going through.
I try to stay away from the news as I have a problem taking the worlds’ sorrows on my own shoulders, but this tragedy has resonated deep in my soul and, much like the shooting in Colorado, I can’t seem to shake the pain away.
Our family spent Christmas Eve giving a small amount of our time in a moment of silence for the victims, as well as a prayer for strength for the families. It’s not everyone’s way, but this is how we deal with this tragedy on a personal level.
While we tried to fathom, and work out in our mind the insanity behind this senseless atrocity, I became angry. I couldn’t get past the injustice of it all and even questioned how my God could allow something like this to happen. I would love to offer some insightful and meaningful answers to the thousands of questions that many have as to how this befell our land and people, but like many of you, I’m left bitter and wanting, with little to say.
Before long, I was making snide remarks to anyone trying to make sense of the incident and speaking out about it at holiday gatherings, friends’ homes, stores during the holidays where it was mentioned. The anger spread through me and poisoned my spirit. Like any normal person, I was enraged that these wonderfully, beautiful angels dared be touched by a monster, and it made me want to fight! Scream out! Demand answers and justice. Ask, why?!
But, I told myself not to address the subject if asked and steer clear of the news, as I was too emotionally caught up in the situation to be rational enough to offer anything useful.
When I believed I couldn’t hear another solitary thing concerning the Newtown, Connecticut incident, I found some clarity. I was wrapping presents, three days before Christmas Eve, when the television show, 48 Hours, was doing a special on the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting. They were reporting on the funerals that had been held, the town and residents, the shooter and his family, and the on-going investigation as to the “Why’s” and the details of the coroner’s report.
As I put the bow on and then the name tag, it occurred to me, “How many of those families had presents put up for those babies, awaiting the night when they could place them under the tree and wake up to their shining faces, running out, eye’s alit and hearts excited for Santa’s big gifts.”… and I broke. Tears began flowing and I tried to stop them, but unsuccessfully.
I reached for a tissue, and the face of a weathered young man appeared. It looked as though he had been raked him over the coals, yet his eyes said strength, belief, love.
Dressed nicely in a suit, and apparently distressed but contained, the man spoke calmly and controlled while he began to tell of a daughter that brought nothing but joy to his family’s life. Emilie Parker, the six year old blonde girl who dreamed of Christmas day and what Santa Clause would bring her and her two younger sisters this year. Only ten days before Christmas, when her world should have been filled with magic and love, she was taken from this world on that cold Connecticut day, when that bastard decided to pick on children and innocents to exact some kind of warped justice for a life he didn’t deserve.
I quickly began looking for the remote like an insane woman, talking to myself so that I could drowned out the father’s voice and the words. How Emilie loved drawing, making cards for those she loved and trying new things except for foods. How this life was made better because she was in it. And the more he spoke, the sicker I became. Yet, his words seemed to rise above my chaotic mind, and touch me like nothing else had this season.
In his moment of sharing, he took a few seconds to say that he held no ill-will towards the shooter, or his family and that he couldn’t imagine what the shooter’s family was going through at this time. At first, I felt complete and utter disbelief, confusion, but then there was peace, understanding, awareness, and most of all, hope!
If this man, could stand up, in front of the world and offer a prayer of concern for the family who spawned the monster that ripped his life apart by taking his baby, who was I to spread such hate. Now, in retrospect what I was feeling is completely normal. You’d have to be crazy not to be fighting mad and bitterly angry over this, but to see that kind of sympathy after an act that displayed no empathy for human life; to see that kind of forgiveness over a root that brought forth such merciless hatred. Could I ask any less from myself?
Though I know Mr. and Mrs. Parker will probably never read this, or never know my name, I will continue on, for myself, for my family and friends, and for anyone else who does happen to read this and pray they come from this as I did changed. Not by me! I’ve done nothing to warrant that kind of response, but by a father’s love. And by all those who have shown such amazing valor and honor throughout this time.
Thank you, Mr. Parker, for making me see goodness in an evil situation. Thank you for bringing sun to a dark hell. Thank you for opening my closed eyes. And thank you Mr. and Mrs. Parker, for gracing this earth with a child, who was precious and loved by many that still see her light through your words and love. She is but a piece of the two of you, as all those beautiful children were to their wonderful parents.
Thank you for bringing us into your life, even though it’s through this tragedy. We share the grief, even though not personally knowing the wonder of your beautiful daughter Emilie. And though we will never know what you are truly going through and the pain you must feel, know that your act of goodness touched and inspired me, and that it far exceeds the evil that that young man spilled there that day.
May God watch over your family, and bless you for your love, and may you find peace in this life that we share.
In honor of the victims who fell December 15th. May God wrap you in his loving arms and keep you safe now.