Why Survivors of Gun Violence Are Turning to Mindfulness

The winding path of grief can be complicated by trauma. For survivors of gun violence, mindfulness can help people navigate their pain and support post-traumatic growth, one breath at a time.

Illustration by Spencer Creelman

On February 14, 2018, Annika and Mitch Dworet were waiting to pick up their two sons at their high school in Parkland, Florida, when they got a call from Alex, 15: He told his mother he was in the back of an ambulance—he had been shot.

Annika took off for the hospital where Alex was taken, with the immediate hope that since he had been able to call her, he wasn’t in dire straits; it turned out that a bullet had grazed his head. But as a crowd of parents quickly gathered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with word spreading that a number of students had been killed, Mitch, still at the high school, repeatedly called his older son: Nick wasn’t answering his cell. Where was he?

The Dworets wouldn’t get the news until 3 a.m., the last family taken into a private office by the FBI: Nick, captain of the swim team, with an athletic scholarship secured to the University of Indianapolis, who was so in love with his girlfriend he had exchanged homemade hearts with her on this Valentine’s Day—he was dead. Sixteen other students had also been murdered by a 19-year-old former Stoneman student in one…


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About the author

Robert Huber

Robert Huber is a longtime journalist who has written for Esquire, GQ, Philadelphia, and many other magazines. He is currently completing a comic novel about the strange and changing demands of office culture. Huber lives near the Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey.