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6 Hours of Torture

December 18th, 2012by Deacon Royce Winters

The shooting deaths of 6 and 7 year-old children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday made a grown man cry.  I have come to understand that with age you not only open your heart to your own pain – you also begin to empathize with the pain of others.  Not too long ago, I was present to a family who had lost two young boys in a drowning accident.  They and I continue to mourn and grieve the loss of their lives.  I remember waiting in the hospital hours upon hours with the family waiting for a miracle for sure.  But, we also were waiting for the doctors – the nurses to give us a word of hope.  The word of hope never came.

As I listened to accounts of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, what seized my mind were the parents as they waited in a nearby fire station.  Hours upon hours they waited with hope.  Family, after family left the fire station with their children until the only ones who were left, were those parents who would never see their children alive again.  A local friend had a distant relative who was shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary that morning.  He recalled being told, “They waited in the fire station for six hours before they received confirmation that their child had been one of the victims.”  What goes through your mind for six hours?  How do you be still, when everything around you is a blur?   It must have been a helpless feeling.  All they could do is await a word of hope.  The word of hope never came.

In the days ahead, may their journey through the loss, pain, grief and mourning lead them to a place of hope, comfort and peace.

Deacon Royce Winters

Deacon Royce Winters is the director of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He has been married for 36 years and his wife, children and grandchildren all attend Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill.