Monday, April 16, 2007

Remembering Columbine

Wow, such strong memories come up in such strange places.

Today before lunch I heard about the tragedy at Virginia Tech. I couldn't help, as much as I tried, but be pulled to the place both emotionally and physically, where I was in 1998 when the Columbine shootings happened. In 1998, I was trapped in a terrible marriage to a man "in the minstry" at a "Christian" church just south of Atlanta, GA. We had been working with a youth group there, about 30 miles south of Atlanta, when the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Co occurred.

I remember realizing around that time that my marriage was falling apart, and seeing that double image of me being 1000 miles from home and watching that haunting image of a dad so far away reaching out and meeting his eighhteen year old daughter in his open arms. I was slowly realizing that things would never be the same, noticing at the same time that the man whom I had chosen to share my life with was this incredible fraud.

The day I was sitting at home watching the Columbine details on CNN, I was also realizing how much my husband at the time was using me. I had just answered a phone call from one of the sweetest of our church members, who was also the mother of one of our Youth Group members. She aparently was inquiring as to why my current husband would have missed out on some recent activities, and was also double checking his excuse on missing out on some events because I had had a recent breast exam which had resulted in further investigation in the form of a biopsy then a surgical procedure. I concurred that recently I had an annual exam in which a tumor had been found. The OB/GYN, whom I am sure, had prescribed to the Cover Your Ass Annual Magazine, had felt that a biopsy was in order. I was 20 years old and 10000 miles away from home. The church member had fallen for a manipulative scheme by the pastor of our church and had resulted, along with a slew of other good reasons, in my then husband being fired. I had really wanted to stay in the area, because I knew that moving back would be the fall of him as I knew him, but I resigned and moved back home. I proceded to enroll back in school, then subsequently work two jobs as he slowly submitted to a downhill spiral.

Last year, one of the students in the youth group, where I spent a year, tried to contact me. He lived a thousand miles away and he and his now wife were traveling through and he took the time to stop and put a note under the door of my parents' small business (he knew this only because he came home with us one holiday.
I was so embarrased or whatever that I didn't even respond back. I felt like such a horrible person but that was such a terrible time in my life and I know one day I may reach out to him and he will probably understand.

After my marriage was over, I was at a crossroads and not at all sure which way to go. I had moved to a town about an hour away to finish my education. I have since met a man whom I love and respect, whom I have chosen to live my current life with. I have finished my degree program and graduated from college.
I, even this year, was offered the choice of running a very successful non-profit agency for which I work. My current boss's husband called me to inform me that last night she had a heart attack. She had been treated and would soon be realeased.

Although I have moved on and now live life in which I know I make a difference, I can't help but feel the similarities of these situations. Today I was easily, eight years later, automatially drawn to that dramatic day in 1998 where my heart will always be.

My heart and thoughts are with all the victims and survivors and their families in Blacksburg.
If you're interested, Mosaic Yarn Shop in Blacksburg has started collecting 8" knitted and crocheted squares to make comfortghans for those affected by the tragedy.
Find out more info at the Mosaic Yarn Shop Blog.


Blogger ~Tonia~ said...

It is all so sad. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The events are tragic and I'm sure they bring up some old memories for you. Good for you for turning your life around. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that aren't of our own doing and it's difficult to recognize that state you're in. Kudos to your choice to re-enter school and not get dragged down.

10:37 AM  

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