A Mother’s Pain

I really didn’t want to watch.

That woman could have been me. It could have been any one of us.Sue Klebold

This past weekend, Sue Klebold spoke.

She is mother of one of the infamous teen shooters from the 1999 horror at Columbine High School.

Dylan Klebold, then called “Sunshine”, was  happy, intelligent, creative, born into a family of privilege.

Shown building Lego, solving puzzles, smiling happily on family vacations, gifted classes at school, abundant friends.

The kid next door. Or even the kid that lived upstairs.

What happened ?

Like many teens, he began to withdraw from family. He showed signs of depression that were mostly dismissed, his parents more focused on the drug-abusing older brother.

He started dressing in black, friends changed, grades dropped, a different child.

Like many parents at the time, I assumed he was a victim of bullies; his attack, a distorted sense of revenge.

I was wrong.

As FBI documents later revealed in his journals, he and Eric Harris were looking to create a scene from hell, pledging to kill hundreds in a single act, the work of sociopaths.

They planted pipe bombs in populated areas, positioned themselves outside with high- powered rifles to take out students as they escaped the building.

The bombs failed. So did their plan.

They proceeded to enter the building, taking 13 innocent lives before their planned suicide.

How does a mother address all this ?

I can’t imagine.

It took Sue Klebold 17 years to come forward in a book to be released soon, proceeds going to mental health agencies.

Why was this so very hard to watch ?

My own son went through a depressive episode as a teen. He was 13 when Columbine happened. We found out years later that he was indeed a victim of bullying, a fact that he worked hard to conceal.

He didn’t know about my family’s history with depressive issues at the time. I made sure he soon did.

Could the Columbine episode have been prevented ?

According to Mrs. Klebold, she is not sure, but she would have sacrificed his privacy in order to save his life.

She would have been all up in his business, his room, his journals.

She thought her love was enough.

A brief clip.

Note: It was reported in the ABC news special, hosted by Diane Sawyer, that as many as 79 school shootings have been thwarted since the Columbine incident, mostly as a result of tips from family and friends.

 

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54 Responses to A Mother’s Pain

  1. Erika Kind says:

    I think it is the hardest parents when they have to bury a child. But I don’t know if it isn’t even harder when a child did something like that. I guess the feeling of guilt and so many feelings I cannot even think about are beyond measure.

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    I can’t imagine. I wondered about the mother of the young man who drove the screwdriver into my son’s skull… she was there for her son, there for every day of the trial except the last, when we were there. She’s a mother too and grieving just as I was, I imagine, for the loss of her child… the one she nursed and sang to. My heart always went out to her.

  3. There’s nothing more to be said

  4. Phew! That is a nightmare better left imagined. I can’t imagine how this woman would have felt. The guilt, the sadness and despair, the questions….it’s an endless pot-pourri of emotions. Even after 17 years, it still sounds horrifying and I can’t even begin to imagine how the lives of all involved unraveled.

    • It resonated with us all. Many say that the events of 9/11 changed us as a nation. While true, for many students and families, it happened in ’99 with this horrid event. Thanks, Jacqueline. ❤️

  5. My heart goes out to this mother.

  6. George says:

    I watched this also, Van and like you I felt so many emotions. As with all shootings like this, everyone loses something on those days. The victims and their family and friends, of course. But as you said, this boy could have been anyone’s son. He had some issues with self worth, found the wrong type of friend and his many of his problems , though there were signs all was not right. Health issues, divorce and feeling isolated are what this woman is left with, wondering everyday what she missed, what she could have done differently and how someone she referred to as “sunshine” could have done something so horrific.

    • She is courageous in stepping forward, even now. The father, and both parents of Eric Harris would not. I wonder how her book will be received. So many lives and families were shattered. It is tragedy multiplied. I had to turn it off halfway through, and watch it online the next day. That happy little boy with a bright future…truly frightening that things could go so wrong. Thanks for your input, George. 💕

  7. Thumbup says:

    Harris became a bully himself. More in the link below
    http://nobullying.com/columbine-school-shooting/

  8. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Covered in chills. I could not watch the clip, Van. The pain I felt was enough as I read this story. Such appalling things happen and then the aftermath. How does a parent, a MOTHER, cope with what her son did for the rest of her life. How does she maintain her sanity? How do all the families that are effected in such horrendous tragedies cope? I don’t know. Honestly. My problems seem small in comparison.

  9. Erica Herd says:

    I didn’t watch the clip. I cannot imagine what she has gone through all these years. So many people hating her and her family for what happened to their children. Unthinkable.

  10. cindy knoke says:

    What a brave woman. I admire her courage and feel great empathy for her.

  11. I didn’t see the interview but my heart has always gone out the parents of these boys and others like them. You are exactly right. She could be me or you or any of us. If we believe ourselves immune from this, we’re just not accepting reality. Any child, despite how hard we work to be everything a parent needs to be, any child can fall into a depression, can fall victim to a bully, can become prey to a dominant person and it’s so hard to see it when you’re so close. Good post. The more folks like this are courageous enough to share their pain, the more lives can be saved.

  12. JunkChuck says:

    I won’t read the words, or watch the video or, frankly, offer more than token consolation. I was living in Oregon when Kip Kinkel murdered his parents then took his guns to Thurston High School in 1998, to perpetrate his own bloodthirsty attack, which was largely forgotten outside the Eugene-Springfield area, overshadowed by Columbine. My wife was pregnant at the time, our prenatal classes were in the same conference room at Thurston High where the parents of the victims had gathered. Each seat at the tables was arranged with it’s own small, open box of tissues, empty plastic cups, half-filled pitchers. So eerie. I find it hard to forgive these actions, or accept the “if only we’d known” mantras. Any loss of a child–to murder, suicide, jail, or however these things end–is tragic, but killers don’t emerge from a vacuum, and I think deep down we all know this, even the parents. I don’t suggest overt culpability, but there is always, always the stink of benign–or not so “benign”, as the case may be–neglect or, at the very least, deep-seated denial. It is no small coincidence that the great majority of these monsters are from prosperous backgrounds, with few demands or responsibilities, their violence less a matter of anger than it is born from boredom, arrogance, and a screwed up sense of entitlement.

    • You’re right, Chuck, the Oregon incident became a mere footnote for many of us after Columbine. Kinkel was seen/released from mental health professionals just prior to the incident. To me, that tells a very different story, no less horrid, just different. I understand the anger/frustration in your words. Thanks for chiming in.

  13. Val Boyko says:

    So much has been said except perhaps, a mothers love can be blind.
    She is so courageous to face reality. 💛

  14. TanGental says:

    Well brave of you to raise this Van
    She was interviewed on the BBC yesterday Woman’s Hour and it was harrowing. It must be awful all round. I don’t think Lionel Shrivr did the subject any favours. It’s so nuanced

  15. mopana says:

    What to say? There’s nothing to be said

  16. joey says:

    Poignant. I like that you added that # — 79 thwarted due to tips from family and friends. It’s so difficult during those years, to give space and privacy and freedom, and most of all, trust. I cannot imagine her grief. I still think it was brave of her to speak.

  17. lbeth1950 says:

    God be with all those who suffered terrible losses.

  18. I need to go and watch it! This is so very sad and tragic! Thanks for sharing Van!

  19. I didn’t see it and don’t think I could watch it. But clearly you struck a nerve Van with you post. Thanks for having the courage that I don’t!

  20. hobo hippie says:

    she is a very brave woman to come out and talk about her son-i really enjoyed the post-thanks

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