When I included this photo in my Happy Chinese post last September, I never imagined that just a few short months later, we would be burying the youngest child in the photo. But Daniel was one of the 20 children in those classrooms last Friday who never walked out. It was only days before that that Daniel had given me the story surrounding the history of each of his missing teeth, and then we had gone over his Christmas list, which included a cat and a few toys that also were never going to be under the Christmas tree and a few that would definitely have been there (I had inside information on those).
But yesterday was Daniel's funeral and he was sent off like the firefighter he wanted to be. Not only did the FDNY come to honor him, along with some pipers from the Emerald Society, but all along the route to the cemetery, firemen from all over Connecticut and New York lined the road, saluting Daniel.
And there were so many people, ordinary citizens who were there, some saluting, some with the hands over their hearts and you knew that people were doing the same thing for all the victims.
Ironically, tragedy always always seems to showcase the best in people. There have been so many people who have shown so many kindnesses to all the families, that I am reminded of a quote by psychologist Virginia Satir:
Life is not what it's supposed to be. It's what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.Life was a wondrous playground to Daniel and he loved every moment of it. And so while we are so terribly heartbroken, we will go on and carry him with us in our hearts and hope it makes a difference.
I do want to take a moment to thank all the people who sent their condolences, including the members of the Kidlitosphere and the members of the Great Books for Children community. Your kind words were much appreciated.
And for anyone who might have children experiencing difficulty coping because of the events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Cheryl Rainfield has posted a list of Books to Help Children Cope with Trauma