Someone said, in the wake of the horrific tragedy that claimed the lives of 26 individuals in Newton, Connecticut, 20 of them children, that the families had likely already purchased Christmas gifts for the deceased.
With the holidays here and the nation not only still in mourning but gripped by a bitter debate centered around guns, it is difficult not to consider how intensely painful it must be for those families right now.
It is healthy to grieve, and it is alright to be sad, even angry, but another important thing to remember in all of this is our own loved ones.
We should do this year round, but now especially, during the holidays and in the wake of tragedy, pull them close and tell them how much they are loved and cherished.
It is not fathomable for many of us to imagine the holidays without our loved ones, and since we do have them here with us, make an extra special effort to tell them, not only that they are loved and cherished, but why they are so important to us and how they fill us with light and love.
Also, reach out to neighbors and tell them they are valued, even loved.
And not necessarily more importantly, but important all the same, reach out to individuals who are not only alone but who might be struggling. Let those individuals know they are valued, they are noticed, they are heard and they are important too.
Since the massacre in Connecticut, much discussion has centered around individuals in need, specifically those with mental health concerns, and how they are not receiving adequate care, how the system is failing them.
Let’s not, as a community of caring individuals, fail them either. If anyone knows of an individual who is alone, who might be struggling, who perhaps is avoided by many because he or she seems to also avoid everyone, offer a smile, a handshake, a hug, perhaps some kind words to show such people that they are cared for and important.
Often, some people struggle through horrific circumstances in life and walk around thinking they are unimportant and no one cares about them, and that simple act of caring can, at times, be enough to push that individual toward a path of healing.
Try to listen if someone you offer kindness to wants to talk. Many people feel they are never listened to, and for them, all they might need is some small form of acknowledgement, something slightly more than that courteous hello or how are you today.
It’s the holidays, and no matter what you believe this time of year, it seems that no one would likely be disagreeable to a little love and compassion.
It might make more difference in the world than you realize.