October 23, 2014 by rebelwithalabelmaker
I am so sorry for your loss. For the loss of your son—the adult man he was last week, and also the young boy that you tucked into bed and cooked for and played with for so many years. I am sorry that you are now surrounded in a life that is defined—at least for the moment—by the actions of your son on the last day of his life. I am sorry that you feel responsible for the pain and grief of so many.
You are not responsible. Every parent goes over their mistakes and undoubtedly you have made some. We all have. Mistakes in parenting are supposed to happen. There is supposed to be room for error. People who speak of your son as though his actions are a direct result of your mistakes are trying to comfort themselves with the idea that this could never happen to them. You do not owe anyone an explanation.
You are entitled to your grief—over the death of your son, over the change in your own life, over the death of the man that was shot. You are also entitled not to grieve. You are entitled to pain and rage and remorse but you are not obligated to any of these feelings. You have a right to whatever you are experiencing and you have a right to be given compassion and space to process your feelings as best you can.
I am sorry about what has happened to you. I am sorry that when your name is Google searched, this is now what comes up—that every other part of your life (and your son’s life) has been temporarily erased. I am sorry that you have had to take precautions to quarantine yourself from a country that should be joining in your grief and offering you support. I am sorry that my words will not reach you, in part because of the physical barriers that you have had to erect, and in part because even if you could hear me I am not sure you could believe me. Please, please surround yourself with people of compassion and understanding, and do not stop until you find the help you need to make it through this. Because this will get better than it is right now. It will never be erased from your life but it will get better than it is right now.
There are many people who need comfort right now, and our hearts ache to reach out and to stand beside every one of those people. I want to you to know that tonight I think of you, and I hope that in some part of your mind, some part of your grief you are aware of the mothers all over the country who cannot reach you, who can never fully understand what you are going through, but who nevertheless stand beside you in spirit.
You have a right to your grief. You have a right to be treated with compassion. You did not cause this. You could not have prevented this. This does not define you. It is not who you are.