Apr 20 2009

Ten years later

I’ve been wavering all day, whether I should write about the 10th anniversary of Columbine or not. Yes, no. Yes, no. But I think I’ll feel better if I just jot a note here.

Ten years ago I was driving from the University of Colorado out into the boonies where Tom taught, to pick him up and head home. I turned on the radio, but not in the mood for music, scanned for something else. What I heard was horrifying. A shooting at a local high school, and it was bad. That’s all I heard at first, and understandably, I panicked. My husband taught at a local high school. I listened…and heard more…knew he was safe…and that it was really, really bad. The panic and chaos came through the radio in waves.

So much has been written and dissected about Columbine in the last ten years, and there is nothing I could possibly add. I feel for the parents. All the parents. We forget that there were two other families affected that day. We forget because we don’t want to give the killers the satisfaction of remembering them. But they’re dead too, and their families grieve for them as well. They grieve in a way we cannot understand, for their children created the panic and chaos and death. As a childless teacher, I blamed them; how could they not know what was going on? As a parent, I no longer place such wide blame. My life would forever change if my child died…my life would end if my child killed others before taking his own life.

Ten years after the fact, I sit here today about the same time I found out about the shootings, watching my sons play outside, running and chasing and laughing in the sun. And I have hope for the future.


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  1. The Casual Perfectionist

    I, too, remember where I was when we got the news. My heart goes out to everyone, including the parents of the perpetrators. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child (or husband/father) in a massacre like this, or the pain of knowing that their sons did something so horrifying.

    My brother was in high school when this happened. I immediately thought of him and his safety, even though he was states away.

    What a terrible day.

  2. Merrily

    Thanks for the reminder. What is disturbing how common place it has become. It isn’t as horrifying or devastating to me as that first one was. And that is the most frightening thing of all.

  3. Leanne

    It was a horrible, horrible event.

    I love your last line. I’m hoping too.

  4. Karin

    Ten years ago, I was a childless teacher as well. There’s always a lot of blame to pass around in these situations, but in the end, the worst part is still and ever will be the holes in the hearts of so many parents – so many families. Someone wrote that it didn’t seem like it’s been ten years. When I read that, I thought that it seems like it’s been longer. I’m not sure how to feel about that. *hugs*

  5. Robin

    So much pain, so much loss.

    Thank you for making us remember.

  6. Cathy

    thank you for writing about it. I agree–i didn’t have kids when it happened, so it didn’t affect me as much as it does now. it’s amazing that 10 years later, we still don’t really know why those kids did it.

  7. ChiTown Girl

    It’s so hard to believe that 10 years has gone by since this horrible day. I was both a parent and teacher then, so it shook me to my core.

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