Courtesy of the Washington Post | June 8, 2013 | Eli Saslow

This is how it is with every death, isn’t it.  When the death is fresh on everyone’s mind, there is a flurry of activity. After a few weeks, every one goes back to their life and the loved ones of the decedent are left with the silence…B.D.

Mark and Jackie Barden hug their 11-year-old daughter, Natalie, before she goes to school in Newtown, Conn., in May. (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. (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.

The Bardens had already tried to change America’s gun laws by studying the Second Amendment and meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office. They had spoken at tea party rallies, posed for People magazine and grieved on TV with Katie Couric. They had taken advice from a public relations firm, learning to say “magazine limits” and not “magazine bans,” to say “gun responsibility” and never “gun control.” When none of that worked, they had walked the halls of Congress with a bag of 200 glossy pictures and beseeched lawmakers to look at their son: his auburn hair curling at the ears, his front teeth sacrificed to a soccer collision, his arms wrapped around Ninja Cat, the stuffed animal that had traveled with him everywhere, including into the hearse and underground.  Continue Reading