Photo: Columbine Memorial Website
Sue Klebold, mother of 17-year-old Dylan, who killed others and himself in April 1999 at Columbine High School, said that her love fell short of stemming his depression. Dylan, she said, was unforgiving of himself when he failed at anything, "and his humiliation sometimes turned to anger." A review of her book, "A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy," appeared on Valentine's Day in The Denver Post, along with a recap of an interview the week before on 20/20 and with mixed reaction by victims and families.
Living so close to Columbine, and during this season of Lent, I'm moved by her reflections. As Chaplains we witness in our work the severe effects of depression, including anger and feeling unloved. Mrs. Klebold "simply -- and drastically and lethally -- underestimated the depth and severity of his pain and everything he was capable of doing to make it stop." He did not learn violence in their home, and her fault was not amorality or indifference, but ignorance. "I wish I had listened more instead of lecturing; I wish I had sat in silence with him instead of filling the void with my own words and thoughts," she writes. "I wish I had acknowledged his feelings instead of trying to talk him out of them."
I'm moved by this story as we are in a season of reflection on God's love for us. That love surpasses our understanding and anything we can show others. What we can do is to use silent listening to show our love.
Domenic A. Fuccillo is a retired Clinical Chaplain who lives in Littleton, Colorado.