A Columbine Survivor’s Thoughts On the Tragedy In Orlando
I’m at a loss. It’s hard to pen my thoughts. I don’t want it to seem like I’m attention seeking or using this tragedy to speak about my opinions. I remember post Columbine High School being highly sensitive to anything anyone wrote or said.
It’s really very simple. We need to donate blood. We need to support the families experiencing a senseless loss. We need to pray. Really really pray; give them space to be alone; a platform to say what they feel and just send love.
Post Columbine, the media was attacking the students; saying it was our fault they went crazy. We shouldn’t have bullied them. There is no blame. Only the perpetrator. Let’s not glorify the shooter. Don’t even speak his name, his purpose, his beliefs. He matters not. Tell me about the victims. What should we know? What should we remember? Let’s honor them.
To the families of the survivors, you’re in for a lot of work. Your loved one is ruined, at least for now. They’ll never be the same again. In some ways, they’ll be stronger, but in other ways they’ll be forever fragile, needing gentle care. Your job is a big one, and it’s going to be a long road for you too. Just be there. Don’t push them too hard. The healing process takes time.
To the survivors, life will never be the same again. You’ll never have rose colored glasses; you’ll never think “it can’t happen to you.” Life as you know it is over. BUT someday, you will have a day where you won’t cry. One day, an entire day will go by and you won’t think of it. One day, the pain will not bring you to your knees and once you get there, you can really start to process what happened and you’ll eventually be a much stronger person.
There will be bad days. You’ll relive your experience every time it happens again. Your heart will bleed for those who have to endure what you now have been through. What would have normally made you sad and wonder what our world has come to, will bring tears to your eyes, a rush of emotion that you thought was long gone, and even the smells and sounds will return as if they were happening in that moment.
I know it’s bleak. I know it sounds terrible, and all I can say is that it is. The day that changed me forever was over 17 years ago and here I am, able to talk about it, but still feeling that numb floating feeling as I do. I can smell the gun powder, hear the exact pattern of gunshots and bombs, feel the fear and confusion. I’m chewing my fingernails, clenching my hands and swallowing that knot in my throat. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’m so sorry this happened…again.
All this being said, if someone were to ask me if I could take back my experience and give me life without it, I would say no. I would give life back to everyone and heal all the wounds that were left both physically and mentally, but through all of this, I am a better person. I don’t know who I would be without this day in my life. I hold my babies closer everyday knowing each day is a gift. While I don’t have those rose colored glasses, I do have gratitude. I’m thankful for every breath that fills my lungs for every moment I am given with my children. Life is a gift.
My heart and soul is with those just starting on their road to recovery. I would hug each one of you if I could. I’ll tell you it’s going to be okay, because eventually it will be. We need to live our lives with love in our hearts. Love for everyone. Don’t let the hate seep in. Hate is the easy way out.
So to you all feeling the effects of this awful tragedy, I offer my love. My support. My hope that you will feel peace one day again. #prayersfororlando