Tragedy in Tucson: Explaining the Death of A Child To A Child

Saturday morning Lisa and Elliana were on their way to Elli’s ballet class, excitedly chattering about what role she might be cast in the company’s upcoming production of a Cinderella/princess ballet.  Fifteen minutes after they left the house, I got a phone call that chilled me to the bone.  Lisa was frantically telling me that traffic was held up at a nearby Safeway, and that she had just gotten off a speakerphone call  after one of the dance teachers had related the details of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and 18 other people.

I could hear Elliana crying in the back seat, as Lisa described in  short breathless jumbles that there were snipers on roofs,  and predator pursuit drones flying around the entire area.  No one knew if the shooting had stopped, and they were within walking distance of the Safeway.

I turned on the TV, and watched, unable to process at first that this was really happening in my home town. Lisa had planned to go that Safeway while Elliana was at dance to get some groceries.

I flashed back to just a couple of months before,when Elliana and I had been watching a debate between Gabrielle Giffords and the other two other candidates, and Elli told me how much she liked the Congresswoman.  I told her maybe I would take her to one of her townhalls some time to meet her, if she won the election. 

I tried to will away my fears that the gunman might be running through the gridlocked traffic, looking for as many victims as possible, knowing Lisa was searching for any path away from the area she could find.  I finally exhaled when I heard the garage door open.  Lisa and Elliana were home safely.

Awhile later, I found Elliana in her princess playhouse, crying. She didn’t understand why someone would want to shoot someone through the head. She wants to meet Gabrielle Giffords some day.  But she doesn’t want to talk about the little girl who was killed that day. 

Little 9 year old Christina Green  just wanted to spend a part of her weekend morning in line to learn about the political process after becoming a member of her student council. Instead, this Thursday, at the church where Elliana goes to school, there will be a funeral for Christina Green.

I think about Christina’s parents–the broken sound of her father’s voice when he said “we were four, and now we’re three”, and I experience emotions running the spectrum from anger to immense sadness.  How do you explain to an 8 year old the mindset of someone who could so callously take so many lives, and even point a gun at a child and pull the trigger?  How do you assure her no around her, no one she knows, will ever become so imbalanced and sick that they could rationalize ending lives in such an abhorrent way?

Knowing all too well just how miraculous the creation of life is, makes it all the more tragic when it is ended so abruptly and violently.  The world that Lisa and I fought so hard to bring Elliana into, a world filled with Barbie movies and princesses and fairies, has changed forever in her little mind and heart and soul.   She keeps saying she doesn’t want to talk about that “weird” day.

I know in just a few days, there will be many more “weird” things to talk about.   I pray God will give me the wisdom to know what to say,  when those conversations begin.

One Response to Tragedy in Tucson: Explaining the Death of A Child To A Child

  1. Great blog! I truly love how it’s easy on my eyes and the details are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which ought to do the trick! Have a nice day!

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