Lost at Parkland: ‘Peter Was Always My Translator’

Linda Zhang wandered into her son’s room and sat for a while. She visits there from time to time, after her husband has gone to work at the restaurant and their other kids have gone to school.

The Ferrari logo sheets were still on her son’s bed. The Nintendo video game controllers were in his closet. Decorative cutouts of an elephant and a butterfly were on the wall.

And then there were the many tributes, gifts and drawings that poured in after her son, Peter Wang, was shot multiple times and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On this morning, Ms. Zhang pointed out a framed letter.

“Maybe the governor of Florida?” she said, peering at a page signed by Senator Marco Rubio. There was also a portrait of Peter, which Ms. Zhang said might have been drawn by a famous artist, but she wasn’t quite sure.

“My English isn’t good,” she explained in Mandarin Chinese. “Peter was always my translator.”

Six years after 17 families lost loved ones in the Parkland, Fla., massacre, Ms. Zhang and her husband, Kong Feng Wang, are navigating the wilderness of grief in unusual isolation. Other Parkland parents spoke out about school safety and gun control, ran for school board seats, spearheaded lawsuits and set up foundations to honor their slain children. At group events, many found solace and a safe space to vent their frustrations.

The family keeps Peter’s awards on display in his bedroom.Credit…Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

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