I awoke this morning to a “normal” morning – no school cancellations or delays; a normal morning. (If you are a Fort Wayne mom – you KNOW what I’m talking about!) Before I pulled the covers back, my immediate first thought was that this was anything but a normal morning for a mom in Wisconsin.
Yesterday at 12:25 pm my daughter sent a text message to her dad and me telling us of the shooting on the Purdue campus, and that she was OK. We soon found out that the shooting took place in the Electrical Engineering building – a building our daughter, an engineering student, has classes within. She said she was headed to that building for a class when she heard the campus sirens; she ducked into the building next door to the Electrical Engineering building; police and ambulances were everywhere.
In the initial moments, with no other information available, I was just incredibly, selfishly grateful my girl was OK. Not knowing if there were other shooters, of if the shooter had been caught, I continued to text her to assure myself of her continued safety.
Then the news came of the arrest. Then the news of the death. Then the identities were made known and it all got a little more personal. I don’t know the victim, Andrew Boldt, but when I saw his picture and saw how active he was as an engineering student, I identified with him as a child much like my own. My heart instantly went to his mom – who likely just experienced four weeks of her son’s presence, laughter and hugs before sending him back to college for his last semester. I can only imagine how proud she was of him and excited for his future – which in a few short months was about to shift as he graduated from Purdue.
My heart agonized for her; this news would send any mom to the floor, in utter agony. The weight too much to bear, I cannot imagine how one gets up after receiving the news that her child was killed so senselessly . I just keep praying for her, for her husband, for the brothers.
There is another mom my mind keeps going to, the mother of Cody Cousins, the suspected shooter. I cannot even begin to process her grief and confusion. Her boy was also a senior at Purdue. When I look at his picture I see a typical college student – not a killer. I cannot imagine how his mother has gotten off the floor either.
As I woke up to an ordinary morning, poured my coffee and drove my daughter to school, I have carried with me these two moms – whom I can only imagine woke up (if they even slept) begging for yesterday to have been a horrific nightmare that surely will be over when they open their eyes. It’s been hard to even put words to my prayers for these moms, though I continue to lift up these women and their families – it’s the only thing that I can do.
Tomorrow I will drive to Purdue to take my daughter to lunch. I want to look into her eyes and hug her tight. Yesterday it seemed she didn’t quite know how to feel, or process this tragedy. When I see her tomorrow she will have been back in the classroom and may want to talk about how that feels. She will have heard stories of those involved – from the friends she knows who were even closer to the scene (one even ordered to the floor by police at gunpoint before being cleared and moved to safety) and I just want to offer her a place to dump all that out. May God guide all those who witnessed this terrible murder, those close to them, and the ones who don’t even know what to feel just yet.
The ripple effects are unknown and far reaching.