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Lori Alhadeff Wrote This About Her 14 Year-old Daughter Alyssa.
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“I wish I could take all the bullets for you.
It’s been a year since I saw you.”

Lori Alhadeff wrote this about her 14 year-old daughter Alyssa.

She was one of 17 people killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago.

This is the letter she just wrote to her daughter:

Dear Alyssa,

It’s Valentine’s Day.
Last Valentine’s Day was the last time I saw you.

You wore a black and white dress.
Your long dark hair dangled.
Your makeup looked just right.

Of course, your white Converse sneakers protected your feet as you walked in to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Valentine’s Day is now about memories.
Today, like all days, I remember.

I remember you weren’t looking forward to going to school that day.

Like many 14 year-old girls, you wanted a Valentine and were disappointed that you didn’t have one.

High school love is magic.
I was 14 once and those butterflies had whirled inside of me too.
I wanted that for you.

I remember the golden gift bag I gave you that morning.
It held a pair of diamond earrings to make you feel pretty, a chocolate bar to make you smile, and hair ties so you wouldn’t ask for mine.

I touched your ears, putting the stems of the earrings through your lobes.

You said you were ready to go to school after that.
You opened the car door.

“I love you,” I said.
“I love you, too,” you said.

Valentine’s Day.
The last time I saw you alive.

****A year has been a long time without you.
So much has happened I want to tell you about.
I watch your brothers miss you terribly.
They want you to know they miss fighting with you.

Dad fights for you every day.
He’s your voice.

There are things I do in your memory that I never thought I could or would ever do.

See, a mother’s protective instincts don’t leave when we lose the ones we love.

I talk to other moms who have lost children.
We talk about you.
We talk about their kids.

But when we look into each other’s eyes, we see it.
A fire.

I ran for the school board.
I won!

I screamed on national TV—words of rage directed at the President!

I started a non-profit called Make Our Schools Safe and there is a law named after you in New Jersey--Alyssa’s Law.****Mothers know.

Intuition prevails.
Mine came as soon as someone told me there’d been a shooting at school.
I knew you were gone.

Rabbi Gutnick said, “Have faith, Lori.”
I said, “No, you must start planning now.”
You were with me.
I knew it.

We lost 14 students and three teachers.
17 beautiful people we, as a community, needed to bury.
You were the first.

As I remember you, grief washes over me.
But that grief emboldens me to fight for change.

I wish I could take all the bullets for you.

It’s been a year since I saw you.
You, in that black and white dress, those Converse on your feet, and that smile. I’ll never forget that smile.

It feels like yesterday.
I just want you back.

Love forever,
Mom

There’s really nothing left to say.
I’m so sorry.

credits: Lori Alhadeff
654 views May 7

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