If you're anything like me, you have been disgusted by every detail of the kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Brooklynite Leiby Kletzky, and yet compelled to know more. I can't remember the last time I've had to hide the newspaper for three days running, or change the channel every time my kids entered the room. But I have to keep looking.
I raise my children in New York City. I have an eight-year-old son who is starting to long for his independence. My first apartment when I moved to New York was four blocks from where Leiby's body was found in a dumpster. This hits way, way too close to home.
I cannot stop thinking about Leiby's mother, how carefully she must have weighed whether Leiby was old enough to walk home from day camp by himself. Maybe she thought he wasn't ready. Maybe someone told her, oh, c'mon, we've got the lowest crime rate in all of Brooklyn. He'll be FINE. Maybe she agreed only when she saw how excited her son was to take that walk on his own for the first time. Maybe she thought,oh, I'm just being silly. Maybe she didn't even worry that much the first five, ten, fifteen minutes she expected him home. I go to sleep at night and think about her, and wonder if she will ever find a moment's comfort again, ever have another hour without an if-I-had-only to haunt her.
For her sake, at least, I take comfort in this: The entire Hasidic community is rallying around her and around Leiby's father, protecting them from all the details of what happened to their son. They know he is gone -- of what use is anything more? A sign has been posted on their front door, and what it says is something like this: "There are things this family does not need to know. Do not be the ones to tell them." Everyone is working together to protect this broken family. I hope, in these days of murdered children's cellphone voice mails being hijacked, that the world will honor that request.
Someday, all too soon, Leiby's mother will want to know everything, will HAVE to know -- but I hope that even then, there will be arms on all sides to hold her up, and keep her safe. If you believe in a higher power, please join me in a prayer that Mrs. Kletzky's God will be her refuge.
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Photo Credit: pedrohfpi.
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