She Writes on Fridays: Words for the Littlest Victim
Contributor

It's Deborah here and I have a confession to make.  I’ve been turning away, not wanting to look in full view at the tragedy in Tucson, not willing to truly let it all in.  I’ve been preoccupied with “other things.”  But after yesterday’s funeral for the youngest victim, Christina Taylor Green, that’s no longer possible.  As I sit here in my local Starbucks reading about her funeral, the emotional barrier I’ve somehow constructed comes crashing down.  There for the grace of (fill in the blank) go mine.  As President Obama so eloquently said on Wednesday night, we look at Christina and we see them all.

 

Christina Taylor Green was born on 9/11/2001.  Her father, reports The New York Times, said her daughter’s birthday had given her an understanding of tragedy.  It had sparked her interest in civic affairs, which led her to meet Representative Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday.

 

Here’s more:

She had a younger brother, Dallas, and she loved to swim. She was the hero of Mailey Moser, the 5-year-old little sister of one of her baseball teammates. Mailey would wriggle from her mother’s grasp to sneak into the dugout and sit next to Christina.

 

At Christina’s school, Mesa Verde Elementary, where students have been holding difficult discussions about death this week, it was quieter than usual as many students, teachers and administrators left to spend the day at the funeral. Out front was a memorial with messages to Christina. There was a photograph of her hugging her friend Serenity, who wrote, “Christina remember this photo, it was our first sleepover.”

 

During lunch this week, Kayley Clark, 9, called her mother at home to say that she did not want to eat the school meal of turkey tacos. She has never done that before, her mother said. Getting dressed in the morning, she has been unusually picky about what colors to wear, as if the decision might be her last.“

 

You know that could have been your kid there outside the supermarket standing right where Christina was standing, when the shooting broke out,” said Leah Simmers, 30, a mother of three. “This hit close to home for every mother I know.”

 

And for every child, including her son, Dillon, 8, a second grader. “A girl like that should not be shot,” he said, noting that she was just a year older than he was....

 

Baseball was in Christina’s blood. Her father is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and her grandfather, Dallas Green, managed the 1980 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

 

She was the only girl on the Pirates, the only one with shoulder-length hair peeking from the green and yellow cap. She brought a mix of playfulness and grit to the team. She spent a week negotiating the terms of a race in the outfield between the players and the coach: kids run forward, coach runs backward, winner gets ice cream. The kids won.

 

She climbed mesquite trees after practice. While playing second base during warm-ups on a hot desert day, she sang a pop song to herself, and quickly brought in the first baseman and right fielder into her chorus.

 

But she was a tough player, too. Once, with the bases loaded, she drove a hard line drive up the middle, bringing in two runs.

 

Another time, after a dispute at second base on whether the runner was out, she stepped in and settled things. And then there was the time when, after getting hit by a pitch, she had the option of taking the base or staying at bat. She stayed to hit — and she did, on the very next pitch.

 

During his eulogy, Mr. Green delivered a message, inspired by Christina’s life, to everyone who had been touched by her.“Everybody’s going to be O.K.,” he said. “She would want that.”


It's Friday, and on Fridays, we write.  Please use this space today—comments, your SW blog, wherever—to share thoughts, prayers, poems, coping mechanisms.  How do you make sense of the senseless?  Can words help?  Maybe not yet.  But we're certainly seeking comfort around here.

 

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Women writers share words in memory of  the littlest  victim ChristinaTaylorGreen @shewritesdotcom.  Post yours, here: http://bit.ly/exbX7w

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Comments
  • Katie Jean

    There is no way to make sense of the senseless.  Words may help but for only a very fleeting moment.  And time, well it just passes making each new day ripe with new questions and they too may go unanswered.  I know that Christina's brother feels abandoned now and how do you lose a child and still care for another all at once?  We really can do nothing for the lost child now but sincerely hope that the family will survive the overwhelming grief and anger.  After 20 years I still feel these things but with less intensity and my four year old son was my salvation, my Christ, my distraction, my eventual saving grace. I think my lost daughter new that.  Time does heal some wounds for some people, but this wound will lay open in their hearts for as long as they love Christina.

  • Gretchen Seefried

    Deborah, You have captured the little details about this special girl that help make her a universal child, and one who, as moms, we can all mourn.  Her father's brave words in his eulogy reveal a clue about from where her spirit of courage and curiosity emanated.  We have to hope that her grace, and his, will serve as an example for the rest of us for a very long time.  Thanks to honest and  poignant prose like yours, there just might be a chance.

  • KBell

    Some how some way the burning inferno in the pit of this beautiful childs parents will fissle out.Although ,we know she is at her resting place.It makes me wonder how does a parent cope.Is it true that time heals all wounds? My answer will be no,my opinion would be the love of God and forgiveness will only put this fire out.

     

  • deborah

    This is sad beyond the tragedy. Sad that a nation of wealth, has no true discourse of cooperation unless we are asked by media to join in the national rhetoric.  Many Americans believe in the rhetoric and therefore fail to lift the veil and ask why children are suffering from mental and physical health conditions some of them brought on by industrial pursuits to wealth. The fallout is here, from carbon particles that blanket the earth keeping heat in, to household cleaners and cosmetics full of toxins, "foods' that are nutrient deficient etc. Christina's death needn't be in vain, unless we fail again to tackle the underlying issues embedded in this countries dogma..

  • Claire Vorster

    “I have been here all the time,” said he, “but you have just made me visible.” Aslan, from Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

     

    Higher than a star can climb,
    And deeper than the night,
    I hear whispers of another land,
    That’s hidden from my sight.
    Where angels kiss the rain away,
    And darkness turns to light the day,
    And we will dance while children play,
    Through the rainbows…

     

    For Christina, for her Mom and Dad and for everyone who wants to see through Hell to Heaven.  Let us continue to speak peace to the whirlwind.

     

    xxClaire

  • I don't care what Sarah Palin and the Right (what an oxymoron!) say - Words Matter.

  • Melissa F.

    Beautiful post, Deborah.  Just added mine here:  http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/make-it-count .

  • Elizabeth Pickett

    Thank you for this post and all the comments. Here is my blog post on grieving Christina-Taylor. I'm so happy to have a place to share it.

    http://alterwords.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/grieve-christina-with-care/

  • Eunice Boeve

    Such a darling girl. So bright, so full of promise. What might she have done to shape the world or at least her corner of the world had she lived. How tragic for all of us, how heartbreaking for her family.

  • Kathy Groft Steffen

    Crazy happens with no sense whatsoever, but reading about the beautiful lives of the victims makes me remember all that is good about people. Remembering how many live each and every day by giving instead of taking, by speaking with kindness instead of anger, by doing for others, their very presence adding to the goodness and compassion of the world. Thank you for reminding us of this, Christina and the other victims, and showing us how to walk the talk. God bless. You will be missed.

  • It's just so senseless.  I just can't even comprehend all this...that poor little girl, you know?  Her parents will never be the same.

  • LindaLowen

    Deborah, I cried constantly from the first time I heard the news through Obama's speech Wednesday night. And I'm tearing up again reading your post.

    What this terrible tragedy has made me realize is that I can afford to cry over the shooting of Rep. Giffords and the death of Christina and the other victims because nobody's relying on me to be strong. When a stranger is involved and there's no obligation for me to bolster others and carry on as usual, I can express the turmoil inside through the release of tears. But when it's people I know personally and love deeply, I kick into 'brave' mode and remain solid as a rock, admirably strong in my grief, noticeably tearless.

    In the past 10 years I've lost my mother to cancer, my father to a heart attack, my two best friends from high school to cancer. I lost a friend who shared the joys and tears of pregnancy and the early years of motherhood with me; her sons and my daughters were born within days of each other. She died when her youngest was only 5. After 8 years, I still miss her.

    In each of these circumstances, I held tight to my grief and remained stoic and tearless. People commented on my composure, but looking back I see it was actually a flaw. I wasn't able to be present with my grief and worried too much about others' reactions. I needed to be ugly in my grief, loud about my loss, and unafraid to be seen as less than perfect. I needed to be in touch with those losses.

    Instead, I held onto stoicism far too long, and didn't allow myself to work through the natural progression of grief.

    Being in touch with grief takes practice. Accepting the senseless takes practice. But if we keep it at arm's length we don't learn the lessons that it teaches us -- that life is unpredictable, nothing is sure and permanent, and that we need to love and connect with each other without reservation. If you hold back, eventually you lose everything you hold dear.

    Tears are beneficial. They begin a process which eventually allows us to reemerge into the world as a whole, healed person. Grief lessens but never goes away. It's the dark to our light, and it makes the light seem that much brighter.

    Don't take these as words of wisdom, just words of experience. It's how I have learned to handle grief, but others have their own approaches. I'm just grateful that I can cry.

  • Lady Simone

    To the parents of Christina:

    Each day is a new day to cherish life,

    To remember a sweet, lovely, ambitious girl named Christina.

    To know that her life represents America;

    Born on a historic day, put to rest as a sign

    For Americans to stop the hate,

    And bring on peaceful, hopeful debate.

    Your little girl has served her life's purpose,

    Let us not ignore the message of her life.

    STOP THE HATE AMERICA!

  • Peggy Johnson

    We watched in horror in 2001, the 9/11 tragic scene,

    It was the birth date of a girl, Christina Taylor Green.

    Now a murderous attack has taken her life away,

    The youngest victim, Christina will miss her 10th birthday.

    We will still remember her, even though she's gone.

    Though cowards can take lives, fond memories live on.

  • Toma Nelson

    My heart aches for the family and friends of this special little girl, but the loss is not just theirs. Reading her eulogy it's apparent that the world community lost a leader in the making, a potential diplomat and possibly a world class athlete. I choose to believe that her spirit is still among us. The tragedy of her death elevating her to a place where her influence can reach new heights. If there's a heaven, its occupants are surely rejoicing at her coming. They are sweeping off the bases and polishing up her bat.

  • Joyce Yarrow

    Haiku for Christina

     

    So many days lost

    a lifetime of suns rising

    to paint your sweet sky

     

  • Paula Kiger

    I didn't write entirely about Christina - concurrently (almost) there was a 21 year old young woman killed here in Tallahassee by an accidental gunshot wound. Before I proceeded to write about my (relatively trivial) topic, I did a "blog moment of silence" for both of them. Here's the link - may they rest in peace and their families find comfort in the empathy of those of us who don't know them personally:

     

    http://waytenmom.blogspot.com/2011/01/hemmed-in-mama-kat-writing-workshop.html

  • Pat Sabiston

    Draw on your faith, whatever that is.  It is what has, and will continue to, sustain her family, which is obvious from all their comments and strength.  Bad things happen to good people, but we need to remember that God is Sovereign.

  • Patricia A. McGoldrick

    Deborah,

    Thank you for having the courage to write about this on this Friday.

    After reading your intro & reflecting some more about this unfathomable tragedy,

    I wrote this Poem for Christina Taylor Green.

    Patricia

    PM_Poet Writer

  • Patricia A. McGoldrick

    We watch them grow, day by day,

    We try so hard to keep them from harm's way.

    Yet despite out best efforts

    Some thing or a person steps in

    Taking that person so special

    Without cause & beyond any reason.

    The only way I can grapple

    With events such as these is to know that

    Christina Taylor Green

    Born on an infamous day

    Showed how to turn that timing

    Into a life full of giving and play

    She lived to the fullest everyday.

    So many will miss this smiling young girl, 

    Christina Taylor Green

     

    Patricia

    PM_Poet Writer