Since Danvers, Massachusetts math teacher Colleen Ritzer was murdered, much of the focus has been on the mindset of her alleged attacker, Philip Chism. But what about the mom of the 14-year-old now facing murder charges as an adult for allegedly killing his teacher? Diana Chism has been on my mind almost from the get-go.
And now she's come forward to speak about the death of the popular math teacher and her son's alleged involvement. She released a statement via her son's defense attorney.
It doesn't explain what everyone wants to know -- why is Colleen Ritzer dead? But it's powerful in its own way.
Because Diana Chism has not come out to defend her child or make excuses. She's come out as a mom who is grieving too, a mom who has lost the son she thought she knew:
Ms. Chism would like you to know that her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear. She asks that you know that she cares for the world's hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son, and all those affected by this tragedy.
Prayers for her son might be hard to summon. He's accused of something unspeakable.
But praying for Diana Chism? That we should be able to do.
This woman did not kill Colleen Ritzer.
She did not cause this tragedy.
But it's her tragedy to bear just as it is the Ritzer family's. Her son did not cease to be her son in an instant. Even as he became someone else when cops began throwing charges at him, underneath he is still Philip Chism, still the little boy that, as she said, was "born in love."
When incidents like this happen, people are quick to say "where ar the parents?" They're quick to criticize mothers who can stand beside children accused of heinous crimes.
But think. Long. Hard.
What would it really take for your baby to stop being your baby? For your child whose soccer games you cheered at, whose homework you helped with, to suddenly not be your child?
Is there anything? Anything that could force you to abandon your child? The child in your house today? The child you love today?
That's the child Diana Chism is asking you to pray for; the child whose soccer games she cheered and homework she helped with, the child she moved with his sisters from Tennessee to Massachusetts a few months ago, who she enrolled in the Danvers school, the child who was just another child until he was arrested on murder charges and became national news.
Police will tell you he is not a good child. But he is still her child. And my heart goes out to her right now, mother to mother. Because you don't just stop being a mom. Ever.
What would it take for you to abandon your child? Is there anything?
Image via Danvers PD