Politics

01.17.13

Now This Is a Heroic Person

Veronique Pozner, whose son, Noah, was killed at Sandy Hook. Read this, from Naomi Zeviloff of the Forward:

Veronique told me that Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy visited her in the funeral home, and she brought him to see Noah’s open casket. I asked her why it was important for her and for the governor to see Noah’s body. “I needed it to have a face for him,” she said. “If there is ever a piece of legislation that comes across his desk, I needed it to be real for him.”

Veronique continued on in this vein for a few minutes. But I still felt that I didn’t understand why she, asa mother, chose to see Noah’s body, so I asked her again: Why, for her? “I owed it to him as his mother, the good, the bad, the ugly,” she said. “It is not up to me to say I am only going to look at you and deal with you when you are alive, that I am going to block out the reality of what you look like when you are dead. And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it.” Several family members also chose to view Noah’s body.

Then, unprompted by me, Veronique described what she saw: “We all saw how beautiful he was. He had thick, shiny hair, beautiful long eyelashes that rested on his cheeks. He looked like he was sleeping. But the reality of it was under the cloth he had covering his mouth there was no mouth left. His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.”

What an unimaginably courageous woman, and what a wrenching, beautiful, human, civic thing she is doing.This is the reality people need. I understand why most people need fairy tales about heaven and angels, and I sympathize with it up to a point, but this is the earthly reality. Those beautiful children's bodies were destroyed. If we don't come to terms with that fact, then wer'e just not coming to terms with this event at all.

It's only January 17. She's already my person of the year. No one will ever top that. I wish her all the comfort that is possible.