SAUGUS — More than a decade after her son was killed in a mass shooting, Lynnette Alameddine continues to pick up her pen.
Alameddine writes letters to the parents of school shooting victims.
“I don’t disclose what I write — it’s something personal for me,” said Alameddine.
But in each card, she includes a quote by Washington Irving that was left at a makeshift memorial for her son, Ross, after he was killed in a shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007. The massacre took the lives of 32 people and critically injured 17.
“There is a sacredness in tears,” Alameddine said as she read the piece of paper, which she has since laminated. “They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”
She was moved by the quote and cherished the piece of paper.
“It just really described grief to me,” said Alameddine. “And love. It’s just a very powerful quote.”
Last week, letters were sent to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to be distributed to the family members of 17 students and staff members killed.
During the massacre on Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz fired an assault-type weapon inside the large high school in South Florida. Seventeen people were killed and 14 wounded survivors were hospitalized.
It isn’t often that Alameddine gets a letter back. A few times she has received a phone call after several months have passed. But she rarely expects one.
In 2007, Virginia Tech distributed boxes full of correspondence and gifts sent to the school from people across the country. Many people she knows never went through the boxes because it was too difficult, she said.
“There’s no way of me knowing if they are delivered or not, but I do it anyway,” she said. “The grieving will take a lot of time. It’s a process and you’re not going to get over it. Before I go to bed at night, I think of Ross. When I wake up in the morning, I think of Ross. During the day, something happens and I think of Ross.”
Alameddine wants to let the parents know that she is someone who understands what they are going through, and will continue to go through for the rest of their lives.
“If something occurs like this, it takes me right back to that day; that nightmare,” she said.