Thursday, April 16, 2009

2 years ago today

2 years ago today I was working at a preschool. (I'll have to tell you about it in another post because it was awesome, but its not really what I have to say today.) The director was super laid back and we were allowed to have our cell phones on in the room. Even though it was accepted, it made me uncomfortable, so I always left mine in my purse. Hubby called or texted me sometimes, but he would always just leave me a message or wait for me to text him back. He had never had reason to call the main preschool line to get in contact with me quickly.

So when the phone rang and the director answered (her office was in the 2 year old room I worked in) I thought nothing of it. Until she ask me to come to the phone. She said my husband was on the phone and kindly stepped out her office area to let me talk to him privately. Hubby tends to over react to things and consider them emergencies when they are really not, so I wasn't too worried.

But when the first thing he said to me was, "Lucy (my sister) is okay." I started to freak out a little bit. Why wouldn't she be okay? That's when he told me that there had been a shooting at Virginia Tech and a resident advisor had been killed along with one of the residents on the floor. Lucy was an RA at VT. I hadn't heard anything about it since I was at work. But as soon as Hubby heard about it he had called Lucy and (surprisingly) been able to get through and confirm that she was okay.

Just a short time later we got the news that 30 more people had been killed in another shooting across campus by the same gunman. This time we couldn't get through to Lucy. The phone lines were so busy in the small town with limited cell phone towers that the system was crashing. We finally got through to her on facebook and were relieved that she was still ok - physically - but she was very shaken and emotional.

It wasn't until the next day that we found out that another RA who worked with Lucy, and a high school friend who played on the soccer team with Lucy had been killed in the second round of shootings.

Virginia Tech, while a large school, is a very close knit community. Alumni, like Hubby and I, are fiercely loyal to the school, and we visit frequently. At the moment I found out, all I wanted to do was be on campus. I just needed to be there. To mourn the tragedy that had occurred with others who understood my love of the school and all the people who are associated with it.

We had been planning on visiting the very next weekend for Lucy's birthday, and even though students were released and encouraged to go home and be with family, we all decided to be together on campus. Many other people did too.

We spent a lot of time in the campus chapel, signing giant message boards, reflecting quietly at the makeshift memorial set up on the Drillfield, taking pictures, and taking comfort in the sense of community. The memories of those days are stamped forever in my heart and I still tear up and cry when someone mentions those days. On the way to work today, someone called in and dedicated a song to Lucy's soccer teammate. It's a GOOD thing I didn't put eye make-up on this morning! I wore school colors to commemorate the day and I've been praying for the families of the fallen all week.
the trees on the Drillfield were all tied with school colors.

the giant message boards filled with messages from folks all over

a line of state police cars. it was so nice to feel their presence.

the make shift memorial. there is a beautiful permanent memorial there now with an individual stone for each of the 32 people killed that day.

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