My New Happy: The Fear Is The Hardest Part

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Fear Is The Hardest Part

"Mom, there's been a shooting at MP.  Someone is dead and we don't know who the shooter is".

I was just leaving my Zumba class Friday morning when my son called me with those words. MP is Marysville-Pilchuck, one of two high schools in our town of 60,000 people. My son attends Marysville-Getchell (MG), but I could hear the terror in his voice.  

No one knew what to do - MG wasn't in lock down, and the teachers were instructing students to go home if they were able.  I told T to grab as many kids as he could and head to our house, half a mile from the school.  I remember hanging up the phone and thinking "no, no, no, not again, not here".  When I got home minutes later, ten kids were huddled around the television, checking their phones for updates from friends at MP.  As they looked at me, I could see the fear and trauma on their faces.

It was heartbreaking.

The rest of the day passed in a blur.  About three hours after the shooting, a friend arrived who had been in lock down at MP.  He told us about his experience - being told to get down on the floor, away from the windows, and staying there for two hours.  No one could use their phone.  When the police finally got to his classroom, it was searched and each kid was patted down before being escorted out in a single file line to a waiting bus.  Only then did they find out what had happened.

By Friday afternoon we had pieces of the terrible news.  The shooter, a student at the school, was dead.  So was a young girl, someone my son knew.   Four other students were in the hospital with critical injuries.  Today, one of those girls was taken off life support and passed away.

Our small town is reeling.  I cannot begin to fathom what the parents of the victims or the shooter are going through.  My heart is broken into a million pieces for them and their pain. I cannot wrap my head around what the kids of this community are going through. My son has been with different groups of friends all weekend long.  They come and go, but there are always at least two of them together - they need each other to lean on. Only they understand what the other is going through, and none of them want to be alone.

As for me and my husband, I feel like we're struggling with our greatest parenting challenge so far. It's such a difficult situation, and there's no script to follow.  Dealing with the fear we feel as parents, but not communicating that to our son.  All I want to do is sit on the couch and hold him close.  

What happened in my town has become too common.  I was so naive to hear the stories of far off acts of violence and think it could never happen here.  But it did, and it is shocking.  I have been floundering all weekend, trying to be strong for my son, and then crying my eyes out when he leaves the house.  I know it's okay to feel sad and angry and helpless.  It's the fear I'm having a hard time with.  I noticed this morning that my left fist was clenched so hard I was leaving fingernail marks on my hand.

I'm scared to send T to school on Monday.  He is a class leader, it's the right place for him to be, and he needs to go.  I'm so proud of him for being brave.  But all I can picture is the young man at MP, well liked by his peers, standing up during lunch and shooting those around him.  I don't feel brave at all.

The "what if's" and the "what can we do's" and the "how did this happen" are conversations for another day.  All I know is that children shouldn't be afraid to go to school - and parents shouldn't be afraid to send them there.  For the people in our community who lived through this terrible day, that will never be a reality again.  

I will be re-running some older posts on my blog over the next few days.  I apologize in advance for those of you who have already read them!


  1. I can't even imagine what you and everyone in your town is going through. It is so scary and sad and is happening too frequently. Sending prayers to the victims and their families.


  2. I can't even begin to fathom how you must feel or what your town is going through. Hearing news like this is always unnerving. I'm keeping everyone in my prayers!

  3. I am so sorry you are going through this. I am having a similar horrible situation this week - one of my close friends lost their 17 year old son to suicide on Tuesday. Situations like this are so awful and you can't help but put yourself in these other parent's shoes. It is just obscene to see another mother in such pain and be helpless to do anything about it. It makes you hug your own children to yourself all that much tighter and realize how lucky you are to have them, even when they are driving you up a tree! I think you just have to focus on the good and on the kindness of people and send lovely thoughts to these poor parents who are suffering so badly. It's really about all you can do.

  4. So, so sorry this is so close to your community and your children. There are no words to say what anyone should or should not do...or how to respond. I think I would just spend time loving on my children.

  5. I didn't realize we lived so close to you. It is so hard to digest what happened. We always feel safe in this area. Thank you for sharing this in your post

  6. What a tragedy. It is so sad that this is what reality has become now. People no longer feel safe sending their loved ones to school.

    My thoughts are with you, your family and the community.


  7. oh my gosh, my heart is breaking with you and your community. I can not imagine...many thoughts and prayers.

  8. I'm sorry you and your son are going through this. That is such a scary situation and one that will change your town forever. Thinking of you!

  9. I miss the days when our children did not have lives independent from our own. While we could not protect them from everything, we at least could be with them and buffer their pain and fears. We have taught our children the skills to do this for themselves - but they should not have to face danger on the grounds of their school ... and parents should not have to worry that they will!
    My heart weeps Lana, and my thoughts are with you and your family, friends and community.
    Even in the midst of grief, fear and confusion, you have an outstanding ability to put words on a page. Anyone who reads this will be reminded of the need to figure out a way to prevent these tragedies.

  10. Oh my goodness, how scary! My heart goes out to all of you, including your town. What an awful thing to go through.

    We have to figure out how to keep this stuff from happening.

  11. Lana, Thank you for writing this!! It could not have been easy, but I also hope it helped you just a bit too! I have been thinking of everyone in your town and been praying for them. I send your family extra big hugs. I am so sorry you are going through this!! Please take care!

  12. Lana, I was so sorry to hear about this. I was away all weekend, and only got the news when I came back. I hope you're all doing okay, and that the fear will pass quickly.

  13. Oh my God what a scary and sad situation Lana, I am glad you are bringing attention to it by writing about it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and your town.

  14. I can't even fathom because I know what's it like to think, "This is happening but it won't happen here."
    Eventually, it might.
    Scares me more than I can say.

  15. Sweet Lana and family, Holding all of you up in prayer. Hug each other a little tighter over the next few days as you mourn during this difficult time.

  16. Oh, Lana, as a mother of two sons, my heart just goes out to you and what you are going through right now. There is just no rhyme or reason to all of this. It's awful what these children are growing up with now. Hugs to you and yours and may you find comfort in each others love and presence. Saying a prayer for all.

  17. I love reading your blog but I usually do it once a week or once every two weeks. so sad to read what your own son went through and to read their quotes as well. I feel like school shootings in US have become the latest trend and that is so scary to say.

  18. I am so, so sorry your family, your son and these kids are having to go through this. I remember when Columbine happened, my sons were still in high school, and even though it was far away, it was still something I never in a million years thought we'd ever have to talk about. Thank you for sharing...

  19. I'm so very sorry, Lana. No child should ever have to experience this. Hugs to you and your family.


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