My mind and thoughts have been racing these last few days. I have watched our community settle into a state of grief. I watched a grieving mother scream and demand change on the news. I stood with 11,000 other heart broken members of our community and cried. I held my three year old sons hand this morning as he handed me a scribbled piece of paper he said “Mommy, this is for you! It says I love you.” I hugged him tight and walked him into school.
I planned to buy groceries for shabbos today. I drove to Winn Dixie this morning and sat in the parking lot trying to will myself to do a normal daily activity. Nothing the last few days has been a normal daily activity.. I sat in the parking for 20 minutes. Then I slowly started my car and headed towards the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff a 14 year old child who I have never met. I stood in the back and silently sent my prayers up to heaven. 17 years ago, I too was a child who at 17 watched the horrors of humanity. 17 years ago I remember the sounds, and flashes of a night that was meant to be peaceful yet was literally blown to pieces. 17 years ago I couldn’t even begin to grasp the enormity of what had happened.
Today I watched as teens sat on the floor outside while parents, well meaning and loving parents tried to console their children. They offered water, tissues, a hug and I’m sure countless things. As a mother now I understand that we will move heaven and earth to take away our children’s pain. As that child though, I remember being 17 and just wanting to be in my mothers presence. To know that in this dark world where at this time nothing make sense I shouldn’t be alone. I remember I didn’t want to answer questions, No, stop asking I am not okay. No water or tissues or well meaning snacks will make the horrors of what has unfolded go away.
As a mother my job is to protect my children in every way possible, as a child however sometimes we don’t share our horrors with our parents because we try to protect them as well. Today I watched myself 17 years ago sitting on the floor in so much pain as well meaning well loving adults stood around me trying to break in while I had a wall around me.
To the student that reads this you are not alone. While your parents may not understand your horrors, they are there. Let them sit with you, they can’t change what happened, they can’t make it go away. In this awful time though know that you are not alone.