After Newtown Shooting, Mourning Parents Enter into the Lonely Quiet

After Newtown Shooting, Mourning Parents Enter into the Lonely Quiet

Mark and Jackie Barden hug their 11-year-old daughter, Natalie, before she goes to school in Newtown, Conn., in May.  [Photo: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post]

Mark and Jackie Barden hug their 11-year-old daughter, Natalie, before she goes to school in Newtown, Conn., in May. [Photo: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post]

They had promised to try everything, so Mark Barden went down into the basement to begin another project in memory of Daniel. The families of Sandy Hook Elementary were collaborating on a Mother’s Day card, which would be produced by a marketing firm and mailed to hundreds of politicians across the country. “A difference-maker,” the organizers had called it. Maybe if Mark could find the most arresting photo of his 7-year-old son, people would be compelled to act.

It hardly mattered that what Mark and his wife, Jackie, really wanted was to ignore Mother’s Day altogether, to stay in their pajamas with their two surviving children, turn off their phones and reward themselves for making it through another day with a glass of Irish whiskey neat.

“Our purpose now is to force people to remember,” Mark said, so down he went into his office to sift through 1,700 photos of the family they had been.

This touching profile, written by Eli Saslow in June 2013, is worth revisiting as we mark the sixth anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting.

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