The other day I went to lunch and purposefully took a specific Oprah magazine with me. I've been carrying around this issue (November) in order to read an article that I just couldn't pass up. Susan Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine murderers, broke her silence to write about her experience for O magazine.
Like most of you, I remember the day of the Columbine shootings clearly. I was a mom to an almost two year old boy, pregnant with another and attending Massage Therapy school. Watching the massacre unfold on TV left me speechless and horrified. Once the initial chaos wore off and some of the reality of what had happened hours earlier came to light, the public started pointing fingers at the parents of those two killers. All I kept thinking was "Oh my God, those parents. Those MOTHERS! How will those mothers ever go on?" And I wasn't just thinking about the mothers whose children were murdered that day, but the mothers who raised those two killers. What kind of parent raises mass murderers?
The next day at school, our massage teacher, who is an ex-priest, decided to put off having class to discuss what had happened the day before. To go over how we were feeling, the impact this had on our society. It was quite a discussion. The parents of those boys were discussed - What kind of parents raise mass murderers? How could they not have known something was going on? Didn't they ever check on their kids to see what they were up to? How could they let them get to the point of killing dozens but with intentions of blowing up everyone?
At the end of all of that finger pointing and having many of those thoughts myself, I remember saying, while practically hyperventilating, "What if they did everything right?" Really, what if those parents are like most of us? What if they loved on their kids, supported them in their endeavors, gave those kids their all? Just like most of us are doing? How does a parent live with that? How do you see it coming when there appear to be little to no signs?
The article Susan Klebold writes is insightful, emotional and heartbreaking. She will never fully recover, though she is doing some good work to help others and to help herself. It's scary because her story reinforced my question of "What if they did everything right?" It appears she was a good mom and her husband was a good dad. They had some issues with Dylan Klebold, but what parent of a teenager doesn't? This horrific event snuck up on them and left them as shocked and traumatized as any other parent that day. They have had to deal not only with the loss of their son, but the realization that their son caused unimaginable pain to so many others. That he took the lives of so many, leaving parents, a spouse and other loved ones behind. And they were unprepared, because like so many of us, they were doing their best and doing what they thought was right in the world of parenting. It makes me shudder to think that more often than not, we parents do all the right things, make all the right moves, love all the right ways, but things can go terribly wrong.
You can read Susan Klebold's article, "I Will Never Know Why" at HERE.