But, I can’t forget.
Yesterday marked the 11 year anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School.
Did you remember? I saw a lot more mentions of it being 4/20- oooh, smoke it up, than I did of Columbine. In fact, I didn’t see any mention of it on any major homepage. You could do a search and find mention, but other than that, not much. Maybe that’s how it should be- that we shouldn’t dwell on something so tragic. But, I think what if one of those kids had been mine? What if the teacher who died had been me? I would still want people to think of it, even though it’s been 11 years, not a milestone like last year’s 10.
I laid in bed Monday night and thought about them. Thought about how eleven years from right then, those students went to sleep: maybe they were worried about a test the next day or maybe who they were going to ask to Prom.
Their parents might have been thinking about how to pay for college next year or about whether or not to ground one of their kids for breaking curfew by ten minutes.
Normal worries. Small worries.
Having no idea what the next day would bring.
What happened that day was a tragedy. The lives lost. Those injured. The feeling of safety gone.
But, mostly, I was thinking about the hope that was lost. The hope for a future for the kids who were murdered that day.
Eleven years…since that day, I graduated from college, got my first teaching job, moved far from home, fell in love, moved again, had my heart broken, moved again and again, fell in love again, worked to make a difference for the students that I taught, got married, and had three babies. The person that I am now doesn’t have a whole lot in common with who I was eleven years ago. She’s changed and grown up and found her place in the world.
My heart breaks for the kids who didn’t have that chance. Who are forever stuck as teenagers in their families’ memories.
And so I think back to the night before, to April 19th, 1999, that night when those families all went to bed, with only petty problems weighing on their minds. And I wish I could turn the clock back for them. And stop it.
And it reminds me that none of us ever knows what the next day brings.