Diane's Diary #25: Kaitlyn and Erin’s poignant story
Note: This is Excerpt #25 in Diane’s Diary. If you would like to read previous excerpts, you can find Diane’s Diary 1-24 here.
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In the last installment, Diane’s Diary #24, I shared that Kaitlyn, the teenager who is waiting for her service dog, began having seizures when she was eight years old. During our interview in October of 2019, Erin, Kaitlyn’s mom told us about their moves from Pittsburgh, PA to Austin, TX and then to Florida. They started in Tampa and then found their way to Parkland, Florida where they finally felt welcomed by a community.
Erin told us that a little over a year and a half ago, when Kaitlyn was in 8th grade, they attended the incoming freshman orientation night at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 13th, 2018. February 13th was the night before 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and staff were gunned down and killed at school.
Erin told us that some of the teenagers presenting that night were the same teenagers killed the next day. I had chills when she shared this, and I have chills writing this now.
She told us of the sorrow, of community, of how the media doesn’t truly capture what’s really happening in the community.
And she shared her daughter’s anguish. The middle school is just across the field from the high school and the middle schoolers heard the screams during the shooting. They have all been profoundly impacted by this tragedy as well.
It was heartbreaking listening to her tell the story and yet, Erin is a true inspiration. She knows that there is a future for these survivors and deeply desires for them to be whole, happy people. What these children and their families and the community have endured is unimaginable. And the stress of it all has triggered even more seizures in Kaitlyn.
There is so much both Kaitlyn and Erin shared, and I don’t know how we are going to edit it down. As a filmmaker, I am truly grateful that they invited me into their lives and are willing to share all that they have shared. As a mom and empathetic human being, I kept wanting to reach across the table and give them hugs.
Join us next time in Diane’s Diary #26 when we wrap up that first day of filming.
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