In Memory of Charlotte Bacon
Charlotte Bacon is a name I will never forget.
Only two months before I first heard her name I gave birth to our own Charlotte. I had no idea of the deep connection I would soon be making. The morning of December 14, 2012, I took our Charlotte to my workplace to meet my colleagues. When I was on the way home my husband called me to tell me about the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
I couldn’t believe what he was saying; I didn’t want to believe it. Here I was introducing my precious, innocent Charlotte to my world of work and someone else’s precious, innocent, Charlotte was taken from their world...our world. My heart was so heavy because I was still able to pick my Charlotte up and hug and kiss her but Joel, JoAnn, and Guy Bacon couldn’t do that anymore. It crushed me to think that they, as well as the other families, were going through something so horrible. My heart is still heavy when I think about it. But I want them to know that they are not alone and that there is still good in the world. There is always hope.
When I was five years old my sister Mary, just two years older than me, died suddenly. My entire life exploded in front of me and I didn’t understand anything that was happening. My parents didn’t understand. I only knew that one day I had my sister and best friend and the next she was gone. That one moment has affected every moment since but I’ve only recently come to realize that. It was a horrendous time in my life; one that I cannot change. My tragedy was a powerful teacher about the ways of the world, even at five years old. Even then, I knew that Mary’s life had purpose, though she was only here for seven years.
Likewise, Charlotte Bacon’s life had purpose. She was a loving daughter and loving sister. She loved animals, especially lambs, and had dreams of being a veterinarian. She loved the color pink. I didn’t personally know Charlotte but I know she was important. She is important. I know she was loved. I know she is loved.
I am empowered by the things I’ve been taught, whether the lesson was taught by a loving teacher or by the ebbs and flows of life. I live and I learn. I learn to appreciate the actions of others, such as Charlotte Bacon’s parents, who continue to be voices for their child. I learn to invite moments of remembrance for those that have gone before in little everyday things: the kindness of others, shooting stars, smiles, normalcy. I learn to move on, not by forgetting the past but by embracing it. I learn to continue loving harder and deeper because I now have the capacity to do so. I learn to live better in spite of what life throws at me.
On this day, I choose to celebrate Charlotte Bacon. From now on, December 14th will be a remembrance day for me--for remembering all of these wonderful Sandy Hook heroes and their families, and in particular Charlotte. I’ll think of her when I hug my Charlotte, when I see a little lamb, when we visit the veterinarian, when I notice the color pink. All things Charlotte Bacon would love.