The recent shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway has rocked our community.  The woman who was killed was also a member of my congregation, Beth Israel, and last Friday night at services I sat in front of her family as they rose to remember her.  I turned to them after the Kaddish prayer, (which I also recited in memory of my son,) and said, “I pray you to have comfort from your community.” Although I did not know them, and their wife/mother/sister/friend, Laurie Kaye, the need to be one with them and reach out spurred the action.  I know for them life will never be the

For someone else whose life will never be the same is Lisa Earnest, mother of John Earnest, the admitted perpetrator.  I have thought long and hard about this close-knit family and recognize for all of them, the parents and siblings life will never be the same. 

I am a mother and sometimes I question the choices of my adult children. Fortunately, I have not had to confront something so horrific.  My heart bleeds for Lisa Earnest and I wrote a poem to her which I read at the Jewish Community Center last Thursday evening.  It is reprinted below:

For Lisa Earnest

flames destroy your home
memories turned to ashes.
A plane crash with no survivors
Limbs blown off from a land mine
Life will never be the same.

Today your son is a headline
a killer
impressed by other killers
this child of your loins
who fed at your breast.

You did your job
he excelled at piano,
got good grades.
You held your head high
laughed, cried, hugged, celebrated.

Today your son is a headline.
You shade your eyes
crawl into a corner
afraid to be seen
behind a curtain of shame
in every orifice in your body.

Every mother in this world knows
for you, Lisa,
life will never be the same.


  1. Your poem is so powerful. I can’t imagine what thoughts are running through this mother’s heart. It is impossible for her not to be wondering where they both went wrong. My heart aches for her. Even though he is alive she will not be able to hug him again. How sad!


  2. Hi cuz How are you? I’m doing okay. Lew moved out March 1st and I am alone again. I’m sort of enjoying it. Tell me what’s going on with you.

    Love Gail

    Sent from my iPad



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