Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'll neVer forgeT 4.16.07

It's been such a long time. A blog to showcase my writing, when I have nothing to say. Doesn't seem like the best idea does it?

Well today I do have something to say. It's honestly just something I need to get out. It's been swimming around in my head since I woke up this morning (30 minutes ago).

When I was at Tech, I took it for granted that we all shared the same collective memory of that day. Now, as I am almost 2 years an alumnus of Virginia Tech, I am among people who heard about that day only on the news--they gasped, some cried, and some wondered if so-and-so was up there and if they were ok.

I was there. I knew that some of those distant people that cried and wondered about their friends at Tech, would never hear from them again. That week--month---months after 4-16-07 were some of the most surreal, saddest days of my life. You hear about tragedy on the news every day--you never think that you might be in the midst of that tragedy.

In the midst of it, all of the sudden, the news channels tone, as the number they report dead climbs higher and higher, grates on your nerves until you finally shut off the television--disgusted by the fact that those people have no idea how you feel.

Caitlin was the only one that had not been accounted for amongst our dorm friends. We were in the leadership program together as freshmans. While she bloomed into a wonderful leader her second year, I decided I'd rather be a follower. She was one of those people that seemed happy all the time--life never seemed to get her down. She was the bright spot in everyone's day--no matter how emo or how little they knew her (like me).

When we finally realized that Caitlin was never going to answer her phone and never going to come back to the dorm---that seemed like the real breaking point. You think, "well, I'm in this tragedy, but maybe I'll escape it without too much bruising"--but when she never comes back, every hour that passes without her answering her phone---that hope slips away like a burglar in the night.

That's what that gunman was--a thief. He didn't just take away lives--he took from all of us. He took away the bright spot in our days, the happy person that made such a difference in our lives (though a difference we couldn't see til it was gone). That gunman took away our innocence, our naivete about the world--the belief that the world isn't as bad as it seems.

I will never forget that day or the weeks that followed. Honestly, you will never know a family like the one I had at Virginia Tech. Strangers that you pass going to class every day became your brothers, your sisters; your professors became your aunts and your uncles. I don't think we could have gotten through those weeks without the support of our fellow Hokies.

The Hokies that were there that day are now scattered all around the world. But today, the collective memory comes to life--remembering and sharing those who were lost. For those that were there, where ever you may be--I will neVer forgeT and I know you won't either.

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places."
                                                                                                                      ~Ernest Hemingway