The News That Rocked Our World

Sisters Chapter 11

Molly's reaction to the school shooting

I really can't believe it's already senior year of college! Fall semester started on August 30th and classes and my practicum has been keeping me busy. I am also in the fall theatre production. I am not doing the spring show because I will be too busy with my internship;. After we graduate a whole new world will open up for me and Bella. I can't wait to see where the future is going to lead us!

Around 6:30pm on Tuesday October 5th the phone rang in my off campus apartment. My roommate Jessica picked it up. "Hello." She nodded. "Yes, she's on her way to play rehearsal but she can talk for a couple minutes. She looked at me. "It's your sister Joanne. She sounds very upset."

I took the phone from her. "Hi Jo, it's me. What's wrong?"

My sister was in hysterical tears on the other end of the phone. It took her a few minutes for her to calm down and collect herself.

"Molly, there was a shooting at school today!"

My face went white. I was quiet.

"Mol, are you there?:

I swallowed. "Yes, I'm here. I'm just trying to process what you said. Are you and Freddie okay?"

"We're fine. I'm so scared though. I don't want to go to school tomorrow."

"Calm down sweetheart. Everything is going to be okay. Are Mama and Daddy there with you?"

"Yes."

"Can you put them on the phone?"

"Yup. Hang on."

"Hi baby girl."

"Mama, what the heck happened today?"

My mom started crying "Oh Molly everything is crazy here. A shooter opened fire in the hallway today between 3rd and 4th period. There were minor injuries but everyone is shaken up.. your sister especially."

My heart turned a somersault in my chest. "Well I'm glad Freddie and Jo weren't injured. Do they know who the shooter is?"

" It was Darryl Abramson."

I was in total shock... this couldn't possibly be true. " The same Darryl we've known since we moved to Queens? Casey's brother?"

"I'm afraid so honey."

"I don't even want to believe this Mama."

"None of us can. It's all very surreal."

I wanted so badly to be at home right now... to hold my baby sister in my arms and tell her things are going to be okay.

"Can Jo come visit me this weekend Mama?"

"No. She's still trying to process everything. Everyone is still in shock. We're going to Boston for Annie's birthday in a few weeks. Can you and Bella take the train to Cambridge after your last class on the 27th?"

I smiled. "Definitely. What are we going to do for Annie's birthday this year?"

"She wants to go to the witch museum in Salem and go out for dinner. "

"Sounds fun! We can't wait."

"I love you Molly Jane."

" I love you too Mama. We'll see you in a couple weeks."

Three weeks later Bella and I were on the train to Cambridge at 2:30. I always looked forward to the girls only outings for Annie's and my birthdays. Aunt Jen met us at the train station.

"Hello darlings. It's so great to see you. Everyone is waiting at the apartment."

I kissed my aunt's cheek. "It's great to see you too Aunt Jen. Did Mama fill you in about the school shooting?"

Aunt Jen nodded. "What a truly horrible thing."

When we got to Aunt Jen's Joanne ran to greet me as soon as I entered the front hallway.

"Hey kiddo. I'm so glad you're safe and that you weren't hurt in the shooting. Are you doing alright?"

Joanne shook her head. "No."

Aunt Jen took my overnight bag and I picked Joanne up and held her close to me.

"Everything is going to be okay Jo. Please don't be afraid!"

"I love you Molly."

"I love you too." My embrace tightened around my baby sister and I kissed her forehead softly.

Annie was helping Mama prepare dinner. She looked different for some reason but I couldn't figure out exactly how.

"Hey Mol." she kissed my forehead.

I returned her kiss softly. "Hey. How's everything been going with you? How's your job?"

Annie smiled. "Great, Hector and I have some exciting news for everyone."

I looked at her curiously, "What is it?"

"You'll have to wait and see. We're telling everyone tomorrow when we go to Salem."

I was shocked. " I thought this was a girls only outing."

"He's meeting us for dinner after we go to the museum. He didn't want to miss going out to dinner for my birthday but he has to work during the day."

I nodded. "OH okay. Great! "

Later that night as I was getting ready for bed Joanne knocked on the door.

"Molly, can I sleep with you tonight?"

I nodded. "Of course you can."

Joanne went into the bathroom to get her pajamas on and then climbed into bed next to me.

I pulled my sister close to me and held her the tightest I had ever held her. "Did you want to talk to me about the shooting?"

Joanne nodded. "Oh Molly, I hate being in school. I don't feel safe at all."

Mama was saying your grades have slipped is that true?"

Joanne nodded. "I'm getting mostly Bs and Cs. I can't focus in class anymore because all I can think about is the shooting and how I wish it never happened."

I nodded. "This has certainly shaken you up a lot hasn't it?"

"Yeah! I hate Darryl for what he did and how he hurt people.. especially Anna."

My jaw dropped. "Anna Samuels was hurt in the shooting?"

"Yup. She only had minor injuries though. "

"Thank goodness for that. How is Jasmine doing?"

"Not very well. Mama mentioned something about home schooling me and Freddie. I think Casey and Jasmine's parents are going to home school them too."

I nodded. Given the circumstances and the atmosphere at school I think that seems like a good option for the four of you right now."

Joanne kissed my cheek softly. " I love you so much Molly."

"I love you too Jo,...more than words. Just give it time.. everything will be okay."

The next day we went to Salem for Annie's birthday. The Witch Museum was a lot of fun and very interesting. After we went to the museum we went for dinner at a restaurant not far from the museum Hector met us there. He reached out to hug me.

"Hey Molly! How's school?"

I returned my brother in law's tight squeeze. "Good. This semester is really busy."

Hector looked at us. "The waitress is ready to seat us now."

We followed him into the restaurant.

"So what's the exciting news you two have for us?" I asked Hector.

He smiled at me. "You'll see."

We ordered drinks and appetizers. Once they arrived my mom raised her glass to Annie in a toast.

"Annie my dearest girl, Happy 25th birthday. We love you so very much. You'll always be our family's sunshine."

Annie smiled. " I love you all very much. We have thrilling news for all of you."

"Tell us Tell US! Joanne said.

Hector was grinning from ear to ear. "We're expecting our first child."

Mama broke into a smile. "This is so exciting! We're all very happy for you."

"Are you having a boy or a girl?" Kathryn asked.

"We're not sure yet but I'm hoping it's a girl." Annie said.

"When are you due? Aunt Melissa asked.

"Late March or early April."

Aunt Melissa looked at Mama. "Grace have there been any new developments in the investigation for the shooting?"

Mama nodded. " There have been a few more arrests. Darryl has been suspended from school indefinitely."

"Have they determined a motive for the shooting?

Mama nodded. "Yes, it was drug related. Darryl hangs around with a tough group of kids. They smoke marijuana."

"How long has he been hanging out with those kids?" Kathryn asked.

"Since the spring time."

My jaw was scraping the table. "That doesn't sound like the Darryl Abramson I remember. He was always such a sweet kid."

"Unfortunately people change Molly and in this situation not for the better," Mama had a very sad expression on her face.

"What's going to happen Aunt Grace?" Kathryn asked.

"His parents recently took him to see a psychologist. He was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and is going to be in the State Mental Hospital in Albany for the rest of the year."

"What a shame." Aunt Melissa said.

"It's a tragic situation. Casey has been taking things the hardest."

"Are you home schooling Freddie and Jo Gracie?" Aunt Melissa asked.

Mama nodded. "Yes. Luckily Molly's home school teacher from several years ago still lives in the area. We can't wait to start working with her again. We're stating home schooling next week. It's for the best. That middle school is not a safe environment for the children anymore."

"Casey and Jasmine will be home schooled too?" Aunt Marlene asked.

Mama nodded. "Yes, they will."

"Aunt Grace have any more drugs been found at the school?" Isabella asked

"The investigation is on going sweetheart."

Christmas Day we had dinner at Uncle Billy and Aunt Phyllis's. In two months Annie had grown noticeably larger.

Mama kissed her cheek. "Merry Christmas sweetheart. We'll put your gifts under the tree."

We sat down to dinner around 3:15..

"So kids how is home schooling going?" Uncle Billy looked at my brother and sister.

Frederick swallowed some mashed potatoes. "Pretty good Uncle Billy. It was a difficult transition at first but now we are used to it."

"We really miss all our friends at school." Joanne added.

"How have your friends been adjusting?"

Frederick shrugged. "Okay I guess. "

Joanne looked sad. "Jasmine told me she might be going to private school starting after Christmas. I don't want her to move."

Mama squeezed my sister's hand under the table. "It's for the best sweetheart. She really hasn't been happy at school.. Anna hasn't been happy either."

"What new developments have happened Grace?" Aunt Phyllis asked.

Mama sighed. "Well several more bags of drugs were found in lockers of Darryl's friends. All of those boys have been suspended from school. Their houses have also been subsequently searched."

Uncle Ralph's jaw dropped. "Darryl's house too?"

Mama nodded. "Yes. The Abramson's house was searched three weeks ago and so was the Samuels's house. Several five pound bags of marijuana were found in both places. Our friends our completely devastated,"

Uncle Billy nodded. "I can only imagine. Wasn't Darryl violent to Jasmine's sister?"

Mama nodded. "Tim and Erica have a restraining order against him. He's not allowed with in fifty feet of their house."

"This is all such a shame." Aunt Marlene said.

Mama nodded. "This situation has definitely bought our school community closer together. We have all been rallying together to help the Abramsons in whatever ways we can."

Marie looked at Mama. "Aunt Grace, is there anything that our family can do to help them?"

Mama smiled. "I'm sure we can all think of something. They need as much support as possible right now. "

Later that evening I rode back to Brighton with Annie and Hector. Mama Joanne and Grandma Helen would be meeting us in Boston on Saturday afternoon to go shopping for the nursery.

"What are your thoughts about the shooting at the middle school Molly?" Hector asked me.

I shuddered. "I just can't believe something like that would happen. I feel so bad for everyone involved especially the Samuels and Abramsons."

"I can't even picture Darryl being violent. When we first moved to Queens I remember him being such a sweet kid.." Annie said

I nodded. " I completely agree. I think he was probably peer pressured into doing drugs. He seems smarter than that to me. He made a dumb mistake by getting involved with that group of kids."

Hector looked sad. " Frederick talked to me privately after we had dinner. He told me Casey has been having a rough time dealing with all this."

Annie nodded. "I can only imagine. Mom said that Darryl was admitted to the state mental hospital in Albany. He was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia the week after the shooting."

"He told me that Casey was staying at your mom and dad's for awhile because he didn't want to be near his brother. Apparently he was really violent to their mother."

"This is all so horrible. I feel like we're all living in a nightmare we can't wake up from.." Tears were starting to form at the edges of Annie's eyes.

Hector squeezed my sister's hand tightly. "Don't worry honey. We'll all get through this."

"Do you guys think the Paranoid Schizophrenia could have been a motive for the shooting?" I asked.

Annie shrugged. "I think that's a lead the police are following but no one is really sure of a motive aside from the drug bust."

My nephew Victor was born on April 15th. I was disappointed I couldn't be in Boston for the birth but I was looking forward to seeing everyone at my graduation.

My graduation was on May 19th at 2pm. In the morning Bella and I woke up at 9:15 to pack up our room and get ready for the ceremony.

"I can't even believe senior year is over already." Bella said,

I nodded. I know. It seems like yesterday when I first arrived here and moved into the suite with all your field hockey friends."

"I'm really going to miss everyone. I don't want to say goodbye.:"

"Neither do I. It's been an awesome four years."

There was a knock at our door. Daddy Uncle Gene and Eli smiled.

"Hello darlings. Let's start loading up the car with your things. We're heading back to Queens right after the ceremony this afternoon and going out for lunch on the way home." Daddy said.

"Where's everyone else Uncle Oliver?" Bella asked.

"They'll be along shortly. We want to take some photos with you girls before the ceremony."

"Annie's here with the baby right?" I asked.

Daddy smiled. "Yes, We can't wait for you girls to meet Victor."

We took some pictures on the lawn in front of our dorm.

Annie handed Victor to me. "Victor wants a picture with Auntie Molly and Auntie Bella."

I smiled. "Of course." I took Victor from my sister's arms and Annie got in the photo on the other side of me. Hector got in the photo on the other side of Bella.

"He's adorable Annie. Congratulations!" Bella said kissing my sister's cheek.

"Thank you! Let's have an all girls photo now." Annie said.

Mama Aunt Anne and Grandma Helen got in the photo behind us. Joanne stood in the middle between me and Bella.

Joanne leaned over and kissed my cheek and then kissed Bella's cheek. "I couldn't be prouder of you two. I've always looked up to you. Thanks for always being such great role models."

I squeezed her hand tightly. "We love so much Jo. We're always here for you no matter what."

Once we finished taking photos we headed over to the field house where the ceremony would take place. The ceremony lasted for about an hour and a half. We went out to dinner in downtown Buffalo before heading back to Queens. Uncle Gene raised a toast to us.

"Molly and Bella, you have always been inseparable. Two peas in a pod. We couldn't be prouder of the intelligent young women you've both become and can't wait to see where the future will lead you. We love you very much!"

Bella kissed Uncle Gene's cheek. "I love you and Mom so much Daddy. Thank you for always being there for me."

Two weeks later Bella and I moved into an apartment in Alston. We had both gotten jobs in local school systems for the fall. On June 10th my family moved into an apartment in Aunt Jen's building. We went over there to help Jo set up her bed room. Eli was helping Freddie set up his new room.

"So Jo are you excited about starting 7th grade this fall?" I asked

"I guess."

"What's the matter?"

" I just wish Jasmine wasn't in private school in Brooklyn. Now that we live 3 hours away what if I never see her again?"

"I wouldn't worry about that too much. She has your address and your phone number. Mama and Mrs., Samuels can probably arrange for you guys to visit each other on the weekends too. "

"That won't be the same. I want her in the same school as me. What if she forgets about me?"

Bella smiled. " I can guarantee that won't happen. Even though you and Jasmine are both going to make new friends you guys will always be friends."

My new job started on August 31st. I work in an elementary school in Allston as a special education teacher working with 1st-3rd graders. Bella got a coaching job at the middle school where she is also a gym teacher.

On September 25th at around 3:30pm my phone rang. It was my mother.

"Molly I have very disheartening news to tell you."

This was not a good way for any sort of conversation to start off.

"What's wrong Mama?"

"Darryl Abramson committed suicide yesterday morning."

My breath caught in my throat. "Are you sure?"

"Positive. A jogger found his body hanging from a tree in the park at 8am."

"What led up to this?"

"No one knows for sure. I spoke to Mrs. Abramson yesterday. She said that Darryl left a note for them of his bed that simply said 'I'm sorry for causing you so much pain. I love you.'"

:"Did this have anything to do with the shooting?"

"I wouldn't be too surprised. I suspect Darryl was dealing with depression but he didn't want to tell anyone about it. Mrs. Abramson said that she really wishes he'd been more open to discussing this with her so that way her and Mr. Abramson could have gotten him on medication for depression in addition to the meds he was on for his paranoid schizophrenia."

My heart turned a somersault in my chest. "When are the services for Darryl? Bella and I will try to come to Framingham."

"The wake is Monday night from 6-8 and the funeral is at 9am on Tuesday."

I nodded. Okay. We're coming to Freddie and Jo's party Saturday. How about we stay over? We can commute to work from Cambridge and then we'll come to the wake on Monday."

I could see my mother smiling through the phone. "That sounds great sweetheart.. You two can stay in Joanne's room."

"See you Saturday at 3:30. I love you Mama."

"I love you too baby girl."

Bella and I drove in silence to my mother's apartment in Cambridge on Saturday.

"I just can't believe Darryl committed suicide." Bella said.

"Neither can I. " I whispered.

Freddie and Jo had about 13 of their friends over. Once they had cake and opened up their presents they went into the living room to go watch a movie. Bella and I hung behind to help clean up the party room. We couldn't help but overhear the conversation my mom and some other parents were having about the suicide.

"This is such a tragedy." one mother said.

My mother nodded. "It certainly is. My heart is just broken for Casey and Megan. Megan and I had a long talk last night when she slept over here."

"What did she say?" I asked

" She said that she wishes she could understand why her brother would want to hurt all those people and wishes she could do something to help her parents and Casey from feeling sad."

"That poor girl. Nobody that young should have to deal with something like this. She's only in third grade for goodness sake." Another parent said.

"Aunt Grace do you think that they'll be stricter safety measured enforced at the middle school?" Bella asked

One of the mothers nodded. "We already have two full time on duty police officers. Another part time officer is going to be coming on board soon."

"Grace you made a good choice by getting Freddie and Jo out of that school. I won't be surprised if more people end up moving away."

"I'm looking into sending Sam to the private school the Samuels girls go to. I've heard great things about it. We're going on a tour next weekend."

"Wanda Emerson told me they're starting a scholarship fund for the Abramsons."

My mom grinned. "Really? That's wonderful news! I will be sure to tell Rich and Valerie that at the services."

"Please give our condolences to Rich and Val Grace. We're sorry we can't make it to the services. All the kids at school are planning on sending Casey cards in the mail."

"I certainly will! They really do appreciate all of your support."

"It's not a problem. Darryl died way too young and he didn't deserve to die the way he did. I have a feeling if he'd never gotten mixed in with those delinquents he'd still be alive today."

The party wrapped up around 6:45pm. I knocked on Joanne's bedroom door.

"Hey kiddo. Did you have fun today?"

Joanne nodded but remained quiet.

"What's on your mind Jo?"

Joanne started to cry.

"Oh Molly, Megan Abramson slept over here last night. She was so miserable. She's really upset because of the suicide."

"I can only imagine what she must be feeling."

"She said she wishes she could stop her parents and Casey from feeling so sad but she doesn't know what to do."

"Well, there's not much she really can do. This situation is beyond any of our control."

"She said she didn't think her brother loved her because he was so mean and violent."

"You must have told her that wasn't true."

Joanne nodded. "I did. She didn't seem to want to believe me."

"How do you feel about all this?"

Joanne was quiet for about five minutes.

"Really angry actually."

"Why?"

"Well I feel like Darryl really didn't think about how killing himself would affect anyone else... kind of like how he didn't think the events of the shooting through in his head."

I nodded. "I agree.. it was a little selfish of him,. I think he felt like a burden to everyone because he knew how deeply the shooting and his violent behavior affected everyone. "

"Did he not realize how much people cared about him or wanted to help him?"

I shrugged. "I'm sure he did but he still felt like a burden to people anyway. I think if his parents had realized he was depressed he probably could have been treated for that. It seems like Darryl didn't want people to know he was depressed."

"It doesn't seem right he'd keep all those emotions bottled up inside like that. I just don't understand it at all."

I kissed my sister on the forehead. "Some questions don't always have answers you know."

Joanne sighed. "I really wish these questions did. It's just so confusing to me."

I kissed my sister's forehead. "Try not to worry so much okay? Things will be alright eventually."

"I love you Molly."

"I love you too Jo."

Monday after dinner we headed directly to the church in Framingham for Darryl's wake. Bella and I followed my parents into the church hall which was crowded with people.

Mrs. Abramson spotted us right away.

"Molly and Bella thank you so much for coming. You two have grown up into such beautiful young women!"

I hugged her tightly. "We're so sorry for your loss Mrs. Abramson. We can't even believe Darryl's gone."

"This week has been such a whirlwind of emotion for everyone. Casey and Megan have been having the most awful time dealing with this."

I nodded. "I know. Joanne told me everything.. I am feeling so awful for all of you but especially Megan. She seems to be taking things the hardest."

At that very moment Megan appeared at Mrs. Abramson's side.

"Sweetheart do you remember Joanne's sister Molly and cousin Bella?"

Megan shook her head. "No, not really."

I reached out and took the little girl's hand. "I'm so sorry about Darryl Megan. Joanne told me you've been having a rough time dealing with the suicide."

Megan nodded. "I still don't understand why he did this."

Bella smiled. "I don't think any of us really understand."

I knelt down in front of her. "Megan, you have to realize that your brother loved you and Casey even though he was very angry and violent.."

"He didn't have very many good ways of showing he loved us and that made me sad."

I took Megan into my arms and gave her a hug.

"Bella and I are always here for you and Casey. Never forget that OK?"

Megan nodded and buried her face into my shoulder not saying anything.

Mrs. Abramson smiled at us. "You girls are wonderful roles models for your sister, Jasmine, Anna and Megan. We love both of you so much."

I kissed her cheek softly. "We love you too Mrs. A."