My New Happy: One Year Later

Friday, October 23, 2015

One Year Later

It's been one year.

One year since my son called to tell me there had been a shooting at the high school in town. In the blink of an eye, that sunny fall morning turned to tragedy and horror.  Thousands of lives were changed forever. 

One year since I realized that an act of violence can happen anywhere, to anyone.  As parents, we spend our entire lives creating a secure, nurturing space for our kids.  We think we've done it, but just like that, it can disappear. Sending my boys off to school, assuming they'll be safe and well, is a feeling of the past.

How are we faring one year later?

There is a polite truce between the Tulalip Tribes and the rest of town, but the division and uneasiness is palpable. The tribe has always been very private, and they have chosen to handle this situation in their own way.  If we're ever going to heal and move on, both sides need to start being honest.

The lone survivor is still recovering at home, after undergoing several surgeries. Luckily he has managed to stay out of the spotlight, and I pray that he is healing quietly.

The father of the shooter is in jail, awaiting sentencing for possessing an illegal handgun, and allowing his son to have access.  Sadly, too little too late.

Several months ago, the final report on the shooter and his potential motives was released by police.  We didn't learn much.  He was angry and upset about the usual teenage problems - a teammate on the football squad made him mad, he and his girlfriend were fighting.  We will never know why he decided to leave this earth, and take his friends with him.

The cafeteria where the shooting took place is permanently closed.  For now, the students eat lunch in the gym, but thanks to a grant from the state, a new building will be built. 

A memorial walk around the high school is planned for this Saturday, and 10,000 red and white tulip bulbs will be planted by participants.

But really?  Nothing has changed.  Across the country, we're still having mass shootings. There is so much mental illness, and no one is stepping up to the plate to help.  Our town has gone back to business as usual, because life goes on.  Humans are resilient.  But you see that uneasiness in the face of every parent, and most of the kids, if they're old enough to understand.

I still tense up every time I hear sirens.  We talk often with our son and his friends about how they're doing.  My heart breaks for all of them and I know the shooting is always in the back of their minds.  Very slowly, we have all started to heal, but there's a long way to go. My son tells me that he refuses to live his life in fear.  The world is scary, but he won't spend his time being scared.

I wish I could be as brave as him.

********** is an excellent website for parents and teens to find information and peer support on a wide range of issues.


  1. I am so sorry that this tragedy hit so close to home. The violence just seems to be closing in lately. It seems overwhelming!

  2. This just breaks my heart Lana and truly scares me as a mother. I will keep this school and the families affected in prayer. May healing continue.

  3. there are so many stories of shootings lately - it makes me glad I live in Australia where it is unusual to own a gun and where it's less likely to have a school shooting happen. None of us can claim we are completely safe anymore and that's a really sad fact of this world we live in.

  4. Oh sweetie this breaks my heart for you, your son and your whole entire community! The senseless acts are beyond incomprehensible!! I will pray for these acts and and I will pray for all of you and your continued healing. Hugs my dear friend hugs and may your weekend be full of comfort, love, and lots of laughter with all the ones you love!

  5. It makes me sad that this fear has to be a reality in their world.

  6. Wow, Lana! I had no idea! I can't imagine going through something like this!

  7. It's so sad that this continues and is becoming more common. Prayers to your community and their continued healing!

    Doused In Pink

  8. What is this world coming too. We can't even send our kids safely to school anymore. I'm so sad for your community. Lots of hugs!

  9. My heart will be traveling with you as you walk around the school on Saturday. We have to find a way to prevent these horrible tragedies from happening. I believe it begins with gun control, reducing the stigma of seeking treatment for mental illness, and showing compassion and understnading to all who need it. Thank you Lana, for this post and I hope your community continues to heal.

  10. Lana my heart breaks each and every time I hear of a mass shooting... I don't even know what to think or say, it is everywhere and unfortunately we have to keep going and let out children go even when we are afraid... I pray so much that this craziness will stop.. but I fear it will be worse...

  11. Anniversaries are difficult. What a tragedy. I will be thinking of you, your son and your entire community.

  12. I wish I could be more like your son too.
    I remember you posting a year ago and I'm stunned that it's been a year, and things haven't really gotten better.. or even stayed the same.
    It's an impossible anniversary.

  13. Such a horrible anniversary and it is even worse that nothing is going to change anytime soon. Not until we elect officials who can't be bought by the NRA. We have to get tougher on gun sales, making mental health a priority, and educating ourselves in what to look for. There have been so many young lives lost and that nothing has been done is a crime in itself in my opinion.

  14. Oh, I'm so sorry this happened to you and your town! Ugh!

  15. I remember when you shared that this tragedy happened in your own backyard. So sad that the cafeteria is closed but still stands as a constant reminder of the events of that day. Glad these students will soon have a new cafeteria. Maybe the other one can be demolished and some kind of memorial erected in its place. Thank you for this insightful, poignant post. Those of us living miles and miles away tend to forget that those of you still relive this regularly.

  16. Thanks everyone, for your kind comments. Now that the one year anniversary has passed, I'm hoping that some real healing can begin.


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