I woke up in the middle of the night last night (this morning, really), some part of my being attuned to the emptiness in our eighteen year-old son’s room next door.  Turning on the light I read for a couple hours, reading Saffron Dreams, about a Muslim widow of 9/11, her husband in the towers, the senseless end of a beloved’s life, her trying to make sense of the world in its aftermath.

Around 5:30 am I heard noises, my son and his friend finally arriving home. Unusually he came in the bedroom, white as a sheet.

“What happened? Where have you been?”

He looked a decade older than he did when he left the house hours before, headed to a party ‘for some downtime after that eighty hour work week.’  Our youngest son is taking a gap year and has been working seven days a week for months, saving for college and a future elsewhere. This child has always been sensible, mature for his years.

“Someone got stabbed at the party, I saw him die right in front of me.”

My son’s friend had blood on his clothes.

Someone’s child is gone, just like that.

I know it’s nothing new, murder, death - and the real horror is reserved for the family; my deepest sympathy and internal shock is for this young man’s parents, his family.

But, for my teenage son to have witnessed a murder, death….

I woke up again later this morning, my mind remembering for the first time the day soon after my father died, when I found my mother crying, alone, in her darkened bedroom. She wasn’t crying for herself at that moment, she was crying for my sister, who saw our father die right in front of her. She was seventeen.

In an entirely different situation, I finally understand the tiniest bit of that pain my mother had that moment; pain for her child witnessing the terrible.


That young man gone so fast, so senselessly. Details unknown, other than assailant was caught.

'Why?' whirls around in my brain.


That’s all the words I have at the moment…



Hug your people, folks.



Views: 489

Comment by Myriad on November 6, 2016 at 6:08pm

Wow.  No way to know how to deal with something like that.  He's young, he'll heal over, but the memory will be forever.

Comment by tr ig on November 6, 2016 at 6:30pm

Wow and TEARS Anna, it strikes me that I NEVER was near or even remotely heard of anything like this as a teenager, young adult, adult adult, old person. These days are more violent. Cannot imagine what your son has gone through and will go through. And the family of that boy, oh my god. I just told Jenny over my shoulder too .. she sends love along with mine. Dammit I'm so sorry.

Comment by Ron Powell on November 6, 2016 at 7:21pm

Be glad that he just aged/matured a bit ahead of scedule...

Someone else’s child is senselessly gone too early to  know why.....

Comment by Julie Johnson on November 7, 2016 at 6:06am

Anna, when I first read these headlines, I thought it would be about YOU aging ten years. 

Comment by Dharmabummer on November 7, 2016 at 7:39am

Oh, Anna! I am so sorry to read this. And as a mom, all you want to do is protect your kiddo and help preserve their innocence as long as you can....it must hurt so much to see how this has impacted him.

I'm very glad to see that I'm not the only one recommending counseling, here. The event your son witnessed fits the textbook definition of acute trauma-- if you get him into therapy asap, you can prevent this from worsening into chronic ptsd. It may only take a handful of sessions for him to effectively process this but if it's not addressed, he can quickly turn to other coping mechanisms to help him manage the anxiety. I don't mean to add to your stress. Please message me if you want/need help finding a therapist.

Comment by Anna Herrington on November 7, 2016 at 11:11am

Well, I hope this comment posts....so far, comments are not 'sticking.' I try again...

Thank you all for your support!! I so appreciate your thoughts and kind words, I'm not getting email notifications of comments, only Boanerges came through - thought you all must be out and away : )  It's funny, but writing and sharing with you all was my first thought yesterday, your support is much appreciated.

Phyllis - yeah, he is okay, he will be okay. We spent some time talking about various aspects last night and will continue to check in and keep communication going. The family of the murdered young man is who I really worry for and feel so sad for. Turns out the one who killed, age 22, was a 'friend' of the murdered man, age 20, they came to the party together! I deeply suspect meth, or drug dealing or even drug trafficking...?? Something very off was going on with the two. So completely senseless.

Thank you so much for coming by, P, much appreciated ~

Comment by Anna Herrington on November 7, 2016 at 11:11am

Yay! Comment took!

....will keep going  : )

Comment by Anna Herrington on November 7, 2016 at 11:29am

Oh, this is frustrating, Comments keep disappearing. Will come back later, after work.


Comment by Anna Herrington on November 7, 2016 at 1:22pm

Edited the comments down a little -- tmi online, I think. Just learning it happened at a friend's house. damn. damn, that puts a whole 'nother layer on it for those who know her... I've known this woman for over 25 years, what a terrible, terrible thing to have happen at your home. outside your home.


Thank you, NC, it's such a shame. I feel for the family so much, Avi was only 20. The shock of my son witnessing drove me to write, I guess... it is very sad. We're in a pretty and small town, I often think when things happen here it's partly how beautiful it is here that makes us all get so shocked by the ugly side of life showing up.... and murder is very rare, here. I can't even imagine what waking up to this reality is like for the family.... 

Rita, yes, I agree. I don't think he'll ever forget.... but he's okay, we're a tight clan, his brothers are in close touch with him, we're right here, we have a good relationship together. And we have a good support system in counselors, friends, here, too. Really good to see you here, Rita, and thank you for your kind words  : )

Hi Jon, glad to see you too, and thank you. very much.

You too, Boanerges! I found myself thinking of young adults off to war, how much death and maiming one sees, or those who live in areas where drugs are rampant or guns and drive bys happen, and how many youth grow older in an instant.... this instance brought out stories from our other sons, one who has been dead bodies, OD'ed, laying on the road in one area he used to have to work in... the other has also seen dead people, homeless who died on the street overnight... I didn't know... but they both felt the shock of their brother just going to meet up with friends at a party, and this tragedy unfolds. Such a terrible loss for that family, such a terrible shock running through our community. I appreciate your coming by ~

Comment by Anna Herrington on November 10, 2016 at 9:54am

This title looks like it belongs to the election....

Sadly, it's not.

I don't know what else to say.....

but thank you to you all. 

This same son handed out passport applications around the dinner table last night.

Think he'll be okay..... ; )

but we will definitely be keeping close on many levels.


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