A life not lived

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2012

As the community of Newton, Conn., goes through the awful process of burying the innocent lives lost last week, I couldn’t help but feel extreme sadness for the parents of the little kids whose lives were unfairly cut short. Each time the image of a small child flashed across the screen, I couldn’t help but think that it could be any child in America on the screen.

What does the obituary of a young child ripped from this earth look like? What do you say about a young life that hadn’t had the chance to realize its full potential? Their life was one filled with hope, happiness and games. An adult’s obituary can list children, grandchildren and spouses. Their place of employment and the things they gave of their time to volunteer can be listed as important things in their life.

A child…a life not yet realized.

A kid…a future adult, parent and mentor.

A student…a future employee, scientist, CEO or president.

What does their obituary say?

How does a mom or dad describe the sound of their child’s laugh in their obituary? Do they list their favorite color? What about the things their child wanted to be when they grew up? Can they only imagine the future that could have been? Do they list the vacations they planned on taking their child to? The high school they were supposed to attend?  How can a parent express the joy they felt when their child entered this earth and the shattering feeling of loss when the news came of their murder? How do you say “they weren’t finished living yet”?

How does a brother or sister, only a few years older, give the eulogy at the funeral? Can their older brother, in third or fourth grade, tell of how they shared their toys? Does he or she express regret over their last sibling quarrel over something that now seems so petty? Does an older sister tell about braiding the hair of their murdered younger sister? How can they describe the tent they used to make in their bedroom out of sheets or the pictures they used to draw on the wall when mom and dad weren’t looking?

How can the obituary of a young child express the first kiss missed, prom dates not taken, hearts not broken or a first love that never will be? Does the obituary describe the notches on the wall tracking the height of the growing child? Does it list the height of the last and final notch? We’ll never know what could have become of the little lives taken today; however, we can know in our hearts that each and every one of them are seated near God in heaven coloring between the lines and filling heaven with the sound of their laughter.

Regardless of what their obituaries say, they will never be able to fully express a life not lived.

Buddy Boe, a resident of Garyville, owns a public relations and program management company and is well known on the local political (and food) scenes. His column appears Wednesdays in L’Observateur.