Brooks came to a comforting realization a few weeks ago when what started out as another night of routine dinner conversation became a philosophical discussion about birth and death: “I’m not going to die for the rest of my life.”

This was before Newtown, when this blog post might have been about how much I love watching him get a foothold on these worldly concepts that he’s just now beginning to grasp, and how that refreshingly makes me reassess my own grasp on all of it.

But now, after Newtown, that approach has lost its appeal. No one, myself included, can stomach the part where I tell him he won’t die until he’s very old, even though it is as statistically true as ever.

Because there is a hard, cold reality that cannot be wished away for the families of those 20 first-graders who tragically bucked those statistics and their 6 heroic protectors, not even in this holiday season of miracles.

Now that we know at least one of the victims had autism, I hope it is less important whether the killer did. I hope that what becomes most important is fighting for gun control laws and improving mental health care services.

I am a firm believer in tributes: whether it’s in the form of Ann Curry’s 26 Acts of Kindness or a retweet of my former colleague’s simple yet elegant 140 characters:

 

Mercifully, the promise of a brand new year is just around the corner.

 

 

 

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