As the families of those who were killed in the Newtown massacre prepare to head to Congress to push for stricter gun control laws, I've got to wonder if any of those members watched this heart-wrenching interview from 60 Minutes this Sunday.
You can watch the entire interview at their site, but I wanted to share the very end of the segment and if this doesn't just break your heart, it's made of stone.
Scott Pelley: Do any of you fear that after only four months the impact of this on the Congress is beginning to fade, and the memory of how we felt on that day is beginning to fade?
Francine Wheeler: Well, people do change because the country goes in different places. But we're gonna bring it right back, so that America can see. Four months, to them, it feels like it just happened a moment ago. And yet--
Scott Pelley: To you.
Francine Wheeler: And yet it's been years since I've seen my son. OK? So we're just-- we're not going anywhere. We're here. And we're going to be here.
Jimmy Greene: We don't get to move on. We don't have the benefit of turning the page to another piece of legislation and having another debate and playing politics the same we we've been doing. We don't have that benefit. We're gonna live with this for the rest of our lives. So our legislators need to hear us.
Nicole Hockley: For many of us, coming up to the four-month anniversary, we're only just starting to find our voices and to be able to come out of that initial state of shock, to be able to do something actively ourselves. So we-- we are not going anywhere. We are gaining momentum now to prepare for this marathon.
Scott Pelley: This is a lifelong pursuit for all of you?
Group: Yes. Yeah.
David Wheeler: To have a moment where we don't feel the depth of this loss is a luxury that is rare and certainly can't be depended upon. That's never gonna change for me.
Scott Pelley: So many people have said to me, "If something like that happened, I would not be able to go on." So how do you?
Francine Wheeler: What are your choices? OK? We have another child. And even if we didn't have another child, your choices are you live or you die. My goal every day right now is to get up in the morning, to be present for David, to be present for Nate. If I get other stuff, great. If I don't, I don't. But what are your choices?
David Wheeler: We're a part of this community. This is an astonishing community, this town, Newtown. It's an amazing place. And there are a lot of amazing places just like Newtown, all across this country. And every single morning you have the choice, as Francine said. You can either crawl in a hole and shut out the light, or you can pretend that nothing happened. No-- neither of those are an option for me personally. So somewhere on that continuum is where you'll find me every day.
Scott Pelley: How do you stay in touch with the child that you lost?
Francine Wheeler: You know, I dream about him all the time and we talk and he and I talk when I take my walks and I just feel him. If I ask him to be present, he is. And I know he'll always be there. And I have faith too. I faith that he is.
Mark Barden: I think about Daniel every minute of the day. Every waking hour, we try to engage James and Natalie, Daniel's older siblings in conversation, we want that to be a topic that can be discussed instead of swept under the rug.
Jackie Barden: I do feel the distance though. I-- sometimes it's too painful to think about him. And then I feel guilty 'cause I need to think about him and keep him alive. But it's so hard because I miss him so much.
Nicole Hockley: We had Dylan cremated. So I have his urn next to his picture in a cupboard in our bedroom on our dresser. Every morning, I kiss him good morning and say, "Hi." And he's the last thing I kiss before I go to bed at night. Every night I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so that I can see him again. And during the day, I just focus on what I need to do to honor him and make change. And it's the private moments at home that I will speak to him.
Mark Barden: So here we are, we're left with pictures and dreams and memories and any little shred of evidence of their physical time with us. And we just have to ask people to remember that. To please think about that always, because now is the time to turn this tragedy into the place where we evolve as a society and look to any possible way you can do that.
They'll look for a way tomorrow on Capitol Hill in Washington. It will be much tougher going. Even expanding background checks, which had bi-partisan support, is now in serious doubt. And there's little discussion of mental health. These families told us they're not asking for everything. But they worry nothing is possible if 12/14 is forgotten too soon.