It was after school. I was in my pajamas because I hadn’t been feeling well. Was that another police car? Something was going on. I sat outside. The rain pouring down like God’s tears, chubby and cleansing. I waited for my husband to bring my youngest home from school.
Twenty minutes later my youngest had his arms wrapped around me. “Jake home yet?” he asked. I shook my head. His older brother was probably going out with friends. I expected it. He was graduating this year. Having fun. Kicking back and just enjoying his life.
Another cop car. Another sound of a siren. What the hell was going on?
My youngest and other kids now curious of course. They’re like dogs chasing danger. They wanted to go and see what was going on. I agreed-hesitantly, telling them all to stick together. I picked up the house phone and dialed my son’s number. It went straight to voice mail. “Hi! you’ve reached Jake…”
A sinking feeling swelled inside of me.
As a parent you get up during the day. Get lunches made. Argue with the kids. Sometimes yell at them to get them out the door so they aren’t late. You even forget to kiss them goodbye. You never stop to think that they aren’t coming back. That they won’t walk through that door again, smile and tell you what a crappy day they had listening to their teachers. You never stop to think — today may be the last day I see them.
“I’m going to go to the school and see what’s going on. Check on Trace,” My husband said to me, kissing me goodbye as he left our townhouse to walk up the few blocks to where my oldest hung his hat Monday to Friday in the carpentry program.
I nodded. I picked up the house phone again and dialed. No answer. Jake’s voice mail again. This time I left a message. “Hey, hun. It’s mom. Call me and let me know who are you with and what you’re doing today. Dinner is at six. I love you…”
For two and half hours I had no idea if my child was safe. If he was injured. If he was the one who had gotten stabbed. My heart pounded. My tears came. I felt ill inside. It’s a feeling indescribable really. There I stood finally in the staging area. Yellow police tape surrounding us. Not something rare. I mean it was Halloween yesterday. The day of the Boogeyman. And then we were told.
I stood in the rain for four hours with grieving parents. Yes grieving because although we knew our children were safe, we also knew someone’s child wasn’t coming home. It was heartbreaking. I couldn’t stop crying. I had sent my youngest home so he didn’t need to be around the awful tragedy of this, though he was already affected. Our entire community was.
They swept the school. They released the students floor by floor. Class by class. My son’s class. First floor. Last to leave. The moment I saw him come through the doors. I ran to him. Never in my life did his beautiful face look so good to me. I held him and cried. He hugged me close. His friends hugged me as they came out. These are kids we’ve known since kindergarten. Our fears were for them as well during this time. All of them.
Social media exploded. There were rumors. Questions. Heartbreak. All of us sharing our experiences. All of us sharing our heart felt condolences for the victims families.
Questions arose as to whether our schools are safe. Are our kids safe? Why did this happen? These poor families. All the parents and our community now broken.
Our school reacted. Our teachers worked with our students. Our kids were safe. What happened was a truly horrible incident. And our thanks goes out to the school, the staff and students who helped take care of the victims and helped save lives.
My husband and I cannot even imagine what the young girl who died, what her parents are feeling, but our community is rallying around them. Answers are here. There is no reason yet as to why this happened. But we don’t want to focus on that. We want to focus on the young girl who was taken from our community.
A go-fund me page (LEGIT) and set up by relatives of the family is asking for help so the parents may grieve and mourn the loss of their child. Please visit and help in any way you can. It may rub people the wrong way having a go-fund page but honestly during times like this the last thing the parents need to struggle with are finances. They need to heal. They need to grieve. We all do.
There is a weighing guilt that flows from you when you realize your child is safe but someone else’s is not. I am feeling that guilt. Heavy like the rains that pour down around our city in sorrow. We will get through this. Counselors are in session at all schools across Abbotsford to help students and parents in our community. Memorials are being created to honor the victims. One girl is still recovering from her wounds. We are praying for both her and the victim’s family.