An Open Letter to Marcus Grimmie

I am so, so sorry. I am also so, so angry.

Last night, an incredible voice was extinguished, and with it, a life full of promise was taken much too soon. But to you, she was so much more than that. She was your little sister.

You learned today what no human should ever have to experience: that an older brother will go to the ends of the earth for his little sister.

In those moments, when she was attacked, it was chaos. It took you fractions of a second to realize what was happening: that he was shooting. At her.

You jumped into action, and you charged. You took him down.

This act is going to be with you forever, marking you as a hero for saving so many other lives. But what most people won’t realize is that it doesn’t feel like that to you. You don’t feel like a hero because you have been her protector for her entire life. And last night was no different.

The confusion of the shooting is something you will struggle with in the years to come. You will question why it took as long as it did to process what was happening — and you will wonder if you could have saved her life if you’d reacted an instant earlier.

You may even, despite having saved countless other lives, struggle with incredible guilt, blaming yourself for her death, instead of remembering those you saved.

I know this because my mom dealt with those same emotions when she protected her class of 18 fourth graders from a gunman at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012. In a nearby hallway, six of her colleagues and 20 of her students were shot and killed.

Like you, it took her mere seconds to understand that those pops she and her staff heard over the intercom in the library were gunshots (they don’t sound like they do in the movies).

Like you, she jumped into action, and herded her students into a back closet to keep them safe from the gunfire.

Like you, my mother and her staff were hailed as heroes for their actions.

But it doesn’t make the pain of that day fade.

In the coming weeks, you and your family will be cast into the spotlight as you share your grief with the world. Christina’s voice and her music touched and inspired so many.

Some of her most dedicated fans, like myself, have been following her journey since the beginning. And when we learned that she would be a contestant on The Voice, it came as no surprise.

Her YouTube channel, zeldaxlove64, truly embodies her incredible musical talent — a talent you helped her share with the world. One of my favorites of her covers was Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You.” Today I have that video on repeat, and I’m holding you and Christina in my heart.

June 2 was the second annual national Gun Violence Awareness Day, and Americans were asked to wear the color orange to honor all victims and survivors of gun violence. Today I will wear orange for Christina.

I wish I could tell you that it gets easier. It doesn’t get easier, but you get stronger.

Today the world was reminded that there is no love quite like that between an older brother and his little sister.

With love,

A Little Sister

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