A mother of one of the 18 victims of the Parkland, Florida, shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018 has shared a moving letter she wrote to mark the one-year anniversary of her daughter’s death.
“Last Valentine’s Day was the last time I saw you,” wrote Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, in an open letter she shared on Dearworld.org. “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 … I wanted that for you.”
Alhadeff had packed her daughter a “golden gift bag” for her to bring to school that day, she said. The two had recently had a big fight over a missing textbook, and the mother wanted to make things up to her.
“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,” she recalled. 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.”
Those were the last words the two would exchange with each other.
Alyssa’s death, Alhadeff said, changed the family irrevocably. But in her absence, she said, the family’s grief had given them the strength to get involved in their community and “to fight for change.”
“There are things I do in your memory that I never thought I could or would ever do,” she wrote. “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.”
Last week, Alhadeff and her husband were present for the signing of “Alyssa’s Law,” a bill that requires public schools to have silent panic alarms.
Watch video of Alhadeff talking about her daughter below: