Everyday Life Goes On, But Not for Borderline Bar Victims' Families

Telemachus Orfanos survived the Route 91 massacre in 2017. He did not survive the Borderline Bar mass shooting in 2018.

A year after the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting in Thousands Oaks, family members of the 12 lost are still learning how to heal, and even when life calls for simple tasks, it can be daunting. 

Marc and Susan Orfanos lost their 27-year-old son, Telemachus, in the shooting on Nov. 7 of last year. Telemachus worked part-time doing security at Borderline, and went to the bar that night to pick up his paycheck, where he ran into some of his friends and decided to stay a while.

"It sucks. It's as if you have your heart ripped out and there's a hole ... it will stay that way," Susan Orfanos said.

After losing their son, the Orfanos' are learning how to move on, but it isn't easy.

"You gotta do the everyday stuff. You gotta get up. Take a shower. Cook food. Do the laundry," Marc Orfanos said. "Some days you just don't want to get out of bed."

Telemachus's parents remember him as someone with a "a streak of protectiveness in him." Telemachus was the only one of the murdered who also suffered a stab wound, which many say he received when he approached the gunman in an effort to stop him.

"Tel was an honorable man. He did his best," Susan said.

This was not the first mass shooting that their son witnessed. Telemachus was a survivor of the Route 91 Massacre in Las Vegas in 2017.

"My son came home. All those other people they can't say that," Susan said. "Thirteen months and six days later, Tel didn't come home."

The Orfanos are strong advocates for gun control after losing their son, noting the impact mass shootings have on youth populations in America.

"Those young people are traumatized, and we are doing this to them. Shame on us. Shame on those people that can make a difference and don't. Shame on them," Susan said.

Marc considers the current state of gun control "a national health crisis," and he and his wife want to see gun law reform.

"We're hoping that by sharing and being open about the pain and the rage and the grief and the emptiness that people will say, 'Yeah, let's do something,'" Susan said.

The Orfanos' find comfort now by reading the goals their son wrote about 10 years ago when he was an Eagle Scout. One entry read: "I believe my purpose in life is to mean something to someone besides myself."

"He did that," his mother said.

See more coverage of the anniversary of the Borderline Bar & Grill tragedy here

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