There’s nothing quite as vital and full of character as a teen’s bedroom. That’s why recently published photos from the room of Parkland shooting victim Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, are particularly heartbreaking. They give you such a strong feeling of the personality and the passions of a life cut too short.
These photos, published in a moving article on Buzzfeed, written and photographed by Buzzfeed reporter Remy Schmidt, are deceptively simple. A hairbrush. An overflowing basket of makeup. Mud-stained soccer cleats. Yet they so palpably tell the story of the teen’s life: uniforms and clothes demonstrate her love of soccer; schedules and notebooks reveal she was a dedicated student; the the myriad of grooming products, in slight disarray, show that she was also just a regular teen girl.
There’s also Alhadeff’s sequined Bat Mitzvah dress and a banner from Jewish summer camp (URJ Camp Coleman) which give us a sense of the teen’s Jewish life.
Lori, Alyssa’s mother, also opened up to Buzzfeed about her harrowing experience losing her daughter, and how she is coping with the loss.
On the day of the shooting, Lori said, she had a strong premonition that Alyssa was hurt. Before the names of the victims were released, at 10 P.M. that night, she said she told their rabbi to start planning Alyssa’s funeral. He told her to “still have hope.”
At Alyssa’s funeral service, her rabbi urged the 400 attendants to “honor her legacy with positive actions and be her voice.”
Lori also told Buzzfeed she felt Alyssa’s presence when the family visited the cemetery when “a big butterfly” flew past the family. She felt that Alyssa was “playing with” her husband when his yarmulke kept flying off.
Our hearts go out to Lori, and to the families and friends of all the victims. We are grateful for her openness in showing us the incredibly heavy price of gun violence in America. And we hope that, along with her schoolmates and other supporters, we can make these terrible shootings — which are still too heartbreakingly common — a thing of the past.