Mar 15, 2018
"This process of accepting that your loved one has hurt
other people. And accepting who that is and what it means to be a
mother of someone like that, it takes not only months but
Sue Klebold is forever tied to a tragic day marked down in
American history, April 20, 1999. It was on that day two gunmen
entered Columbine High School and killed 12 students, a teacher and
wounded two dozen others. One of the shooters was her son,
After an excruciating journey, Sue has come to a place of peace
and is using her life to honor the lives of those who died, raise
awareness for mental health issues and do what she could to prevent
another tragedy like Columbine from happening again.
Sue shares her story of a mother's love, heart-wrenching
tragedy, sincere appeal for forgiveness, the long process of
allowing herself to grieve, and letting go of the trauma of
being hated, criticized and judged in order to focus on
her heart, and the little boy she lost and adored.
Today Sue bravely, honestly and with great humility
shares her 20-year journey of researching mental health, suicide,
and their ramifications so that we as a community may be able to
live more inspired. I think what will amaze you most is how much
you can relate to Sue, her family and her story. Sue shares
concrete ideas to make sure none of us have to step into her shoes.
It is a podcast you won't want to miss.
- Sue heard on the news that 25 had died and found herself
praying that no more would die and if her son was the killer that
he'd kill himself to stop the number of fatalities from
- "I didn't think of him as a vicious murderer."
- "I went into the meeting with the sheriff thinking he'd
been brainwashed or tricked. But I was shown what really happened
and his level of involvement in the planning that I was in a state
of shock all over again. I had to rebuild who Dylan was to
- We were very isolated after the tragedy, I had a
tremendous amount of humiliation to think that someone I loved
and raised could do something like this. There was a lot of fear
- "Everybody who knew Dylan was as dumbfounded as we were. All
wondering what we could have said to change his
involvement...trying to understand what Dylan had done, look out
for each other."
- I remember Dylan with joy. Like if he died of cancer or a car
- I thought I'd never get to this place. I thought the
way in which he died would obliterate what he had meant to
- Every time I saw kids with their moms and kids with their
siblings I thought Dylan took that from people. I tried to make
statements, write letters to the victims..."There is
nothing you can do to adequately apologize for something like
paralyzed Columbine survivor, Anne Marie Hochhalter's letter of
forgiveness to Sue.
- "I had perceived myself to be a good mother."
"Previously, I had been one of those mothers who
when crimes were being committed, went "uh-huh, what kinda parent
- People had to think of me as a bad parent or different
than them because "The thought that you could do your best
and be a good parent and this could still happen is a terrifying
- "I had no idea during his lifetime that he was in
danger and that's why I speak about this a lot today. Now I look
back - after being educated, reading, talking with experts - I can
say that was a potential sign. But I didn't have the knowledge at
- School counselors, therapist, teachers and his parents all
missed potential signs. He said he'd show us that he was on the
right track and he did. He worked, applied to college and
did well for the next 14 months.
- Change in behavior happened his junior year. Changes in
his sleep patterns. But he presented as a normal person.
- "The thought that you could do your best and be a good parent
and this could still happen is terrifying."
- "Important point to remember about mental
health: What we think people should be feeling and what
they are feeling can be very, very different."
- We need to do everything we can to truly understand what our
children are going through. Ask open-ended questions (even though
you can't be certain they'll answer truthfully):
- "Tell me something about yourself that no one understands, but
that causes you pain?"
- Instead of trying to fix it, making your child feel like he has
to "be happy" ... no matter their answer, your response should
always be, "tell me more about that."
- Ask the hard questions: Do you have thoughts about
hurting yourself or someone else? Stay calm, don't try to
argue with that person.
- I wish I'd given more of an opportunity to share more of
what he was dealing with and that whatever his feelings
were okay. If I could do anything over, those are the
things I would make happen.
- Sue's book is a meditation on forgiveness A Mother's
- There is a physiological difference in
those who commit suicide; when someone is having
persistent thoughts of suicide and can't shut it off - these are
symptoms of a physiological brain
Victoria Arango, Ph.D. from Columbia
- According to the FBI, of mass shootings, 78% of them
the shooter was suicidal. This is why I have become
so focused on suicide prevention. If we can get someone away
from a suicidal crisis, it gives us great opportunity to prevent a
shooting like this from escalating.
- "I practice gratitude a lot." I go to bed at night counting
blessings to adjust my mind into a positive place.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-talk or go to their website to
- All author proceeds from A Mother’s Reckoning are
being donated to various mental health charities,
Health America (MHA), National
Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention (AFSP), American Association of Suicidology
(AAS), and Brain &
Behavior Research Foundation.
SUE KLEBOLD'S LIVE INSPIRED
1. What is the best
book you’ve ever read? Oh, that's a great question, I
wish I had a long time to think about that. Gone with the Wind, Amy Tann,
one of the best books on suicide: No Time to Say Goodbye.
2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy
uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you
millions. What would you do with it? Well, I
think I'd sit on it for a while. I don't think there is anything
different that I would do from what I am doing. I try to live a
life where I have donated what I can donate from my book. I would
want to make sure that money was used well. I am so happy with how
my life is.
3. Your house is on fire, all living
things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and
grab one item. What would it be? I think I would
grab pictures of my children.
4. You are sitting on a bench
overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a
long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever
received? It was in the process of my therapy, where
I was allowed to grieve.
6. Looking back, what advice would you
give yourself at age 20? You are in for a wild ride.
Nothing you can do is going to prepare yourself. You are more
courageous and strong than you have any idea.
7. It’s been said that all great people
can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want
yours to read? She did the best she could.
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