• Pinky Alger


Here we are (again), one day after another school shooting, debating gun laws, pointing fingers and blaming one side over the other. All the while, there are 17 families making plans to bury their children. I would ask you to try to imagine the horror and the pain and total devastation that the parents, the siblings, the grandparents and the entire extended family are going through, but I already know that no matter how hard you might try to put yourself in their shoes, you cannot. Unless you have lost a child or a sibling, you can never fully understand the pain and heartache that a bereaved parent and family will endure for the rest of their lives. Out of respect for the victims and their families, I ask you, please, for a few moments, try to feel with your heart how a bereaved parent feels every day. I hope you will listen to my story and try to imagine the journey that the 17 families from this most recent school shooting have begun. This is what my life has been like since my son, Michael, died 22 years ago. A piece of me is missing; it’s gone forever. I will never be the person I was before his death. My entire being aches every single day, there is an empty space in my heart and my soul that can never be filled. Still, there are times that I feel like I can’t catch my breath; still, there are times when my mind races and I can’t stop the thoughts and memories of the day that that my child died. Every happy event is tainted by the missing of my dead child; every sad time is compounded by his death. The hopes and dreams that I anticipated for my child have vanished one by one – no graduation, no wedding, no grandchildren, no family gathering without the empty chair at the table. Never to hear his voice again, never to see his smile or feel his hugs, never to do his laundry for him or cook his favorite meal; no more photos to add to his scrapbook – his story ends with a picture of his gravestone. Our family circle is broken, never to be repaired. I watch his brothers still struggle with their pain every day and I am powerless to fix it for them. This doubles my sadness and grief. I tell you my story because I hope in some small way, I can validate and honor the grief of all bereaved parents and families, especially the newest members of the “club that no one wants to belong to…” Please have compassion for the families whose children have just died. There will be time to debate and blame – just not today or tomorrow or next week. Instead pray, hold these families in your thoughts and hug your own children very tight. ~ Kathy Corrigan


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