2016: 56. A Mother’s Reckoning

“On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold armed themselves with guns and explosives and walked into Columbine High School.  They killed twelve students and a teacher, and wounded went-four others, before taking their own lives.  It was the worst school shooting in history.

Dylan Klebold was my son.”

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue Klebold 

Oh, this is a heartbreaking book.  Written by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, Klebold has just written an amazing heartfelt memoir, of what it means to lose your child in the worst way possible - finding out that he was a murderer, and filled with anger and hate that she just didn’t see at home.  Dyland Klebold wasn’t the dark tortured soul that everyone knew would come to a bad end - he was brought up in a loving home, with a loving family that shunned guns, and violence, and hatred, and yet, somehow, he died as a manfestation of all those things, and cruelly stole the lives of other innocent children.  Klebold has been trying to deal with this best as humanely possible for 10+ years, and her insights into how she’s done so are fascinating, and as I said above, heartbreaking.

She is so graceful about not wanting to hurt any of the victims families (any profit from the book goes to suicide prevention) and does not shy from the fact that her son, that she loved, was nonetheless a killer.  But she does believe that Dylan’s death was rooted in deep depression that he hid from his family, and when he interacted with Eric Harris, a psychopath, it exploded into a fatal combination.  She’s not the only one to think so - that is the general law enforcement position - that Eric went there to kill, and Dylan went there to die.  But Dylan killed, and everyone who loved him must live with that.  It almost destroyed his mother (and did destroy his family - his parents divorced after 42 years of marriage).  But Sue found salvation in the suicide survivors community, and has dedicated her live to suicide prevention and to better recognition of teenagers with brain health problems.  She is doing the best she can with the hand dealt to her, accepting as much blame as possible, but also realizing that she didn’t cause him to fire those triggers.

It’s a wow of a book, and I recommend it, if you don’t mind sadness.  It makes you realize that everyone carries tremendous pain of one sort or another.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017