Last April, when news of the shootings at Virginia Tech surfaced, I thanked God that something that horrific hadn't happened at NIU. Last December, when school was cancelled due to the threats written on the wall in Grant, I prayed to God that nothing would ever come of it. And last Thursday, when I got a text saying that there had been a shooting at my school, I begged God to please be with the families, friends, and students at Northern.
Everyone always says "I never thought something like this would ever happen at MY school." But until it does, you really never think that it could. For me, it still seems unreal. I hate the fact that I can't go put flowers on the memorials that are set up around campus, or go to the candlelight vigils that have been held, or even just hug my fellow Huskies. I am very grateful that I was not there to see the chaos that errupted immediately following the shootings, but I am also very sad that there is very little that I can do from thousands of miles away, besides pray as hard as I can.
This weekend has been very hard for me. On Friday, a girl that is studying here in Sevilla from NIU, called to tell me that her friend Gayle had been killed in the shootings. I cried for her. I cried for Gayle. I cried as well for Daniel, Ryanne, Catalina and Julianna. I cried for Steven, for the motive that made him commit such a horrific crime. I cried for the other students who were lucky enough to survive, the students that were in the classroom, and the families and friends of all of those involved. I cried for all my Huskies, and I cried for whoever it is that will feel this pain in the future (because unless something drastic changes in the near future regarding the gun laws, it is sure to happen again).
Those of you who know me well know what a sensitive person I am. I joke a lot about how episodes of Full House make me cry (the one with Papuli gets me every time). I sometimes wish I weren't so sensitive...but then I realize that I am just making up for those selfish people in the world who don't care about others at all.
Tomorrow I will proudly be wearing my school colors, because according to Facebook, students around the country will be doing the same to show their support for the Huskies. I can not begin to thank all of the other schools around the country that have left comments on Facebook with phrases such as "We are all Huskies". It really shows how much tragedies bring people close together.
I am blessed to be having this experience right now. I am blessed to be living in such a beautiful country. I am blessed to have great friends here...and great friends and family at home. And I am so thankful to each and every one of you for just being who you are.
Experiences like this are life changing-no doubt about it. You meet people who will forever change your lives. There are two girls in my program from Virginia Tech. One of them, who has become a good friend, lost a friend last April. The other one immediatly posted on my wall on Facebook giving her phone number in case I needed to talk. Seeing these two girls offering their love and support to me makes me realize that soon it will start to get better...and I once again will be off doing bigger and better things.
I may be here, but my heart and prayers are with the Huskies. FOREWARD, TOGETHER FORWARD...For today, we are all Huskies...