As a young man, I had a friend who was murdered. Through that unfortunate fact, I soon learned of the existence of the support group “Parents of Murdered Children”. Even as a naive 18 year-old, I was saddened that such a group had any claim to existence. I suppose that thanks to too many Kojak or Baretta episodes, I figured that murder was something that happened to robbery victims, or was visited upon grown-ups by their jilted spouses, etc. My friend was neither — just a kid on the way home from volunteering at the library.
Actually *knowing* somebody who was killed mere blocks from home, and seeing the impact on the parents, changed me. When youthful illusions go away abruptly, People often say “I grew up”. If growing up means resigning ones self to the terrible, I grew up, too.
Last year, I took no solace in the fact that I could draw on this experience while trying to comfort my teenage child, whose classmate had just been murdered. I guess I hoped that, like some genetic diseases, it would “skip a generation”.
Today, I am saddened further: clearly, this disease skips no generation at all.
It helped me a little to write this, and while I can’t see how it will do much for the few people who may read it, I’m leaving it here.
I hope that when or if I return to it, it will be a better time.