Lindsay Stauffer, a mother of two boys, cannot imagine what it's like to lose a child to gun violence. In a now-viral Facebook post, Lindsay opened up about how ever since the Santa Fe shooting in Texas, she's been thinking an awful lot about the moms who lost their kids in such tragedies. And if there's one alarming takeaway from her message, it's that a shooter can wreak havoc on any school in the US without warning.
"I can't stop thinking about her," she said. "The mom who received the alerts of a school shooting, only to see the shooting happened inside the very doors her daughter had walked through that morning. She waited for hours at the evacuation site for word on her daughter. Hours. If you're a mom, you can only imagine what those hours must've felt like. They must've felt like a thousand eternities."
Lindsay explained that she can envision any parent's worst nightmare: getting word that your child wasn't able to make it out of school alive that day, despite walking through the doors in the same morning without issue.
"Because instead of planning a Summer holiday with her daughter, she's now planning her daughter's funeral. And no parent should ever have to bury their child."
"After hours of panic and fear too great to describe, she finally got word that her precious daughter was one of the 10 who didn't make it. I can't stop thinking about her. Because she returned home yesterday evening to a house bursting with memories of a daughter she would never see again," she wrote.
And Lindsay wondered what a mom would do after receiving the devastating news. After all, there's no correct way to mourn the unexpected loss of a child.
"Did she lie on her daughter's bed and bury her face in the pillow to muffle the uncontrollable sobs? Did she pull a shirt out of her daughter's closet and hold it up to her tear-stained cheek, breathing in its scent? Or did she close the door to the bedroom because it was too painful to have it open? Did she sit at the dining room table and stare at the chair that would always serve as a reminder of the person who was missing? Did she look at pictures on the wall knowing she would never make another memory with her daughter? Or did she just sit on the couch, shock paralyzing her body?"
She can't imagine going from planning the perfect holiday to organising a funeral in a matter of hours, and frankly, that possibility brings tears to our eyes: "Because instead of planning a Summer holiday with her daughter, she's now planning her daughter's funeral. And no parent should ever have to bury their child."
Although Lindsay admitted she doesn't have the answers to these heartbreaking questions, she knows one thing's for sure: we can't leave the solution up to lawmakers in the US.
"We're all looking for answers but I don't have them. I DO know that if we're looking to a group of lawmakers to fix our broken world, then we're going to be sadly disappointed every time. Laws are just words written on a piece of paper to be enforced, they don't remove the evil from people's hearts," she wrote. "Can lawmakers help initiate a change? Absolutely. But not until the safety of our precious children becomes more important than their political differences."
With 22 school shootings taking place in the US in 2018 alone, Lindsay knows that parents can't take a single day with their kids for granted — and neither should you.
"[The Santa Fe shooting] taught me that the evil in this world is hidden everywhere and it will continue to show itself at the most unsuspecting times in the most unsuspecting places. It will always be there. So rather than shielding my children from it, I need to teach them to counter it with good. To respond to anger with patience. To be a helper. To find the hurting and be a friend. To find the broken and show compassion. To be a light in this dark world. To be the hero. And to always, ALWAYS choose love when it's easier to hate."