total hearts received for Moments That Survive

Hannah Kaye

On April 27, 2019, my precious mother, Lori, and I rushed out of the house to attend services at our synagogue in San Diego. It was the last day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, coinciding with a day to say Yizkor (the Jewish prayer of mourning). My mom was eager to get to our synagogue on time because she didn’t want to miss the chance to say the Yizkor prayer for her own mother, who passed away back in November 2018. It was a sunny day, and my mom wore a white dress with a gold and black scarf draped over her shoulders. Before we left the house, I went into her bathroom, where she was putting on makeup and we hugged for a few moments, sunlight coming in through the window above.

Twenty or 30 minutes after we arrived at the synagogue, I was sitting in the sanctuary where prayers are held, talking to a family friend of ours. My mom had just set down her prayer book next to our family friend and walked out into the hallway to greet the rabbi. Seconds later, a 19-year-old boy stormed in with a weapon of war, yelled and began to shoot. Our rabbi lost a finger, a young girl’s face was hit with shrapnel, and another man was shot in his thigh. But my mom was shot four times, killed instantly.

I don’t have the words yet to describe how I feel, or where I am at with this horrifying and unbelievably devastating tragedy. All I can say is that my mom was an extraordinary, loving, full-of-life, angelic force — “60 and fabulous,” as she wrote on her birthday, of reaching a new decade the year before. She, as well as every single person on this planet, did not deserve to die this way, from hate and violence and the cruelty of bullets.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.