Twenty little angels hung on a tree, held in his heart
SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - You can see the symbols -- the expressions of grief throughout our country. Complete strangers have joined the families of the victims in Newtown, Conn., sharing part of their pain.
In Southern Arizona, one man is also looking for a way to cope this Christmas. There’s grief in his heart and, on Christmas Day, an expression of hope hung from his tree.
Robert Forshaw is a father of six, grandfather of 18 and a fourth grade reading tutor. He loves children and feels for the parents of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“We think about not just Christmas day but every day since that tragedy -- what they must be going through,” the Sahuarita man said. “It must be utter hell for them.”
Forshaw shares a small part of that grief, and he wanted a way to express the emotions. He looked to his ten-foot Christmas tree for inspiration.
“The tree was already standing when I got the news," he explained. "The tree was bare."
So Forshaw and a friend went in search of something to fill the void on the tree and express the void in their hearts. They came across little angel ornaments sold in Tubac.
“We thought, 'It's perfect,'” Forshaw said, choking up. “They all were angels so now we have 20 angels on our tree.”
“We found, we felt, the most perfect emblem -- symbolism of what those children represented and where they're going to be going,” he said.
In the glow of white lights, there are 12 girl and 8 boys ornaments -- one reminder of each child murdered that dark December day.
Among the victims, one that stands out in Forshaw's mind is six-year-old Emilie Parker. Her father said, "This world is a better place because she has been in it."
There's an angel for Jack Pinto, Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden and every other six- and seven-year-old victim. He's considering adding ornaments for the adult victims, too.
“Those families on Christmas Day are probably feeling the pain much more than they have in the past few days,” Forshaw said. “A lot of them have buried their poor kids, but they haven't left them. They're still with them and they're with them today.”