Life often revolves around the color wheel. The influence of color touches lives far beyond pattern, palette, and walls. In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I find I am more and more amazed at the power of color. It’s no coincidence that color is closely associated with traditional rights of passage and milestones in our lives. The pink or blue of a baby nursery, the religious significance of white baptism robes and christening gowns, graduation caps and gowns in school colors, white and ivory wedding dresses, black tie affairs, golden and silver anniversaries- you get the idea.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Emilie Parker, Josephine “Joey” Gay, Grace McDonnell, and Victoria Soto share obvious and tragic circumstances, but choosing to define their memories by those circumstances is not fair to the lives they lead. I am so struck by one particular detail, a shared commonality lovingly revealed and colorfully expressed. We’ve learned how color defined their individuality and its impact in each of their lives, memorials, and funerals. Josephine loved all things purple, Emilie the color pink, Grace claimed both as her favorites, and Victoria adored the color green.
Josephine “Joey” Gay’s family knows well Joey’s affinity for the color purple, straight from the spirited hearts of Baltimore Ravens fans.
Purple balloons throughout their neighborhood paid tribute to Joey. May the peace and warmth associated with the color purple comfort her family.
Big sister Emilie Parker nurtured way far beyond her young years. Comfort came to those who remembered her caring qualities by a simple and colorful request- to wear the color pink, Emilie’s favorite, in a united show of love and remembrance of the little girl who loved pink.
Grace McDonnell’s mother talks of Grace’s love of peace signs and the colors pink and purple. Her mother shared with Anderson Cooper how the family took part in a very colorful, deeply personal, comforting, and fitting tribute to Grace. Grace colored the world with her artwork so full of vivid colors, wise subjects, and touching sentiments. Color was not absent from her world, and her parents made sure it would never be via Sharpies and color filled tributes.
Victoria Soto simply adored the color green and pink flamingos. That revelation crosses my mind when I source, select, and admire the color green. Green has a calming quality and is said to represent safety. From what we now know, Victoria Soto died offering to the best of her ability the qualities of her favorite color.
Isn’t it beautiful how color is a sweet and strangely comforting testament to the creativity, imagination, and strength of Grace, Victoria, Josephine, and Emilie. Color gives hope through the green and white ribbons that stand strong with Sandy Hook and the citizens of Newtown, Connecticut, and unity echoes through music, small voices, and somewhere over the rainbow colors in support of the families and in remembrance of Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Anne Marie Murphy, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison N. Wyatt.