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Our future trees

December 17, 2012

Car headlights
in the chilly foggy
drizzly night are
like white red blurry
lights on a Christmas tree
as the cars come and
go and come and go
on the highway.

The travel plaza is
an oasis of bright
light and warmth
inside the walls of
glass vaulting to a
high arched ceiling.

In the middle of
the dining area is
a tree sculpture made
of potted poinsettias
stacked in layers up and up,
fewer on each rising layer,
until one plant
remains at the top:
parts of a whole like
the groups of people
bustling here together.

A tv shows news
of the Connecticut
school shooting,
another mass killing
in a public place,
in another oasis
of being together.

And I am unable
to comprehend how
a person could do that:
extinguish the light
in these eyes,
in the light of children,
our future trees.


I have two daughters. It is beyond my imagination to picture not being able to look into their eyes. I am deeply sad for the people who died—and their loved ones who must bear the immense burden of a future without them.

The news now has discussions of gun control and mental illness, and I hope respectful conversations continue about these extremely important issues. I believe many questions should be asked, possibly: What are the benefits for civilians to own assault weapons? Would we be safer if the United States had a lower accessibility to weapons of mass murder? What if we increased accessibility to affordable mental health treatment for people who desperately need it? What if we believed that people with mental illness are not monsters, but people who struggle with a pain that is difficult to understand unless we go through it ourselves—or open our minds to the descriptions of what their psychotic episodes are like?

A couple of my friends shared on Facebook a powerful essay about a mother’s troubles with her mentally ill son. Liza Long, in her piece “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” writes about her son Michael’s (not his real name) tortures with mental illness, and its frightening effect on her family. About how he has threatened to kill her. About how her other children (7 and 9 years old) have a safety plan to flee to the car and lock it when Michael threatens violence. About how a social worker told her “that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime … ‘No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.’”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2012 1:19 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with their families

  2. December 17, 2012 3:50 pm

    There are no words to express the deep pain felt when such events happen.

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