Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Vigil for Blake Litton

Penelope rght after adding her doggie to our box-sign
We held our own personal vigil for Blake Litton tonight. I was proud of my kids gathering favorite stuffed animals and setting up the candles (blue for child abuse awareness). I didn't act like the little kids were going to participate at all. Since they are so young I mainly asked the older kids to help get things ready. The younger kids pitched in on their own though and wanted to take part too. We don't normally discuss violent crime with the younger kids (unless it were to accidentally come up). However, in this situation I saw a teachable moment and even though it was hard to say I told them the truth about what happened. Penelope brought her stuffed doggie to me and told me she was ready. It was really sweet.

I talked to the kids about child abuse in many forms: neglect, endangerment, verbal abuse, and physical abuse. I talked about how this wasn't a stressful situation in which a child was hurt and killed, like some children are a victim of, this was a deliberate and real case of child abuse; where children were harmed purposely and repeatedly many times. (All types are inexcusable.) I talked to the kids about broken homes, broken marriages, trusting others to care for our children as well as and making wise decisions before having children. We've been teaching that to our kids for years so that was more of a 'this is why we've told you that before' type of point to make. We talked about speaking up against child abuse in any setting. We talked about the fact that someone usually knows when kids are being hurt; family, neighbors, friends sometimes know so we need to pay attention so we can help kids if we ever suspect abuse in a home. Lastly I told the kids that five or more children die everyday from child abuse. They were all silent and shocked with a couple mouths dropped open. Sage asked me if that was in the United States alone. I told him yes. They were shocked to think about the fact that every day we could write 5 new kids' names on our board and do this over and over again each day. In fact, we had a picture of another recently killed baby tucked under a stuffed animal on our sign. There are so many children.

We said a prayer and we told Blake we were sorry his life here was so short and painful. I told him I wished I could have helped him and I hope he is feeling our presence and love for him, even though we have never even met him.

The kids then talked, played with the candles (lighting tiny twigs with them), and hung out together out front. Their dad got home from work during the vigil and slowly drove by us to say hi and admire our sign and effort before pulling into the driveway. It was a beautiful night to be outside. We had a cup of coffee together and enjoyed our corner of the world, which is free from pain and sorrow in our own lives, all while wishing Blake and many other children could feel that same security.

We took our sign in because it's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. I plan on putting it back out after the rain passes in a day or so. I wanted to leave the candles burning but Ricky said the leaves were too dry around the front garden bed and it was windy. Charlotte said something like' burn down our house mom, that'll get our message out then' and we laughed.

After the vigil I don't feel much different (proud of my kids though). If I think too much I still feel hollow, speechless, lost and sad. I feel good about sharing time with the kids and talking about an important and unpleasant subject with them. I don't like unpleasantness, sadness and violence so I avoid it a lot. I taught the kids to pour loving energy outward instead of keeping it inward. They learned things about child abuse. I guess my gloom has a little less to do with Blake at this point. I try and imagine him wrapped in love now, free of pain. I guess now I just feel defeated, there are so many kids out there hurting. I feel the sting of a selfish society with a slipping moral fiber. (Although I know we've always had pain and abuse so please don't tell me that if you read this and think that.)

Sometimes this planet is such an amazing place, sometimes it's nothing short of horrible. Our world, our lives, our society is only as good as the people that are in it.

Teach your children well... show them how to love. Tell them why.
My commitment in life is to teach my children how to love, how to protect themselves,
and how to help others

I was surprised not one kid smiled for this photo, since it's usually habit
Rest In Peace Blake
We think of you and all other children whose lives were silenced because of the
selfishness and hate carried by the adults you trusted.

1 comment:

r litton said...

This touches me so deeply. I really am not sure that I can put it in to words. Your sweet children to have so much compassion for someone they have never even met is beautiful. Thank them a million times over and tell them that they're thoughts will always be remembered.