Guest Blogger

What Fireworks Means to a School Shooting Survivor

What Fireworks Means to a School Shooting Survivor

What Fireworks Means to a School Shooting Survivor

I despise fireworks. Some of them are so pretty, but the sound triggers me. I can feel it in my chest whenever a firework goes off. The breath gets knocked out of me, and I freeze. At that moment, I am transported back to school. I am back in the classroom with my teachers and fellow student.

At that second, I could see the fear in my teacher’s eyes as he looked down the hallway at the commotion. “Run,” He says with complete fear in his eyes. The look in his eyes will forever be etched into my brain. Confused, I run down the hallway watching as a freshman falls and slides into a locker. I can’t bring myself to stop and check on her, and I’m pretty sure that makes me a bad person. I’m doing what my teacher said. I am running, from what I don’t know.


As I Get Outside


As I get outside, I stop running. I assume that it was a fire and that I am safe outside. The fire can’t get me here. “Someone brought a gun to school.” A stranger says behind me. At that point, I couldn’t think. I take off sprinting. I almost got hit by a car. It was centimeters away from hitting me. I can hear the teacher yelling at the students to get into a classroom in the tech building because it’s safe. I sprint into the building.


I almost enter the first room as soon as you walk in the door, but I decide that that classroom would be the first to get shot if the shooter comes up here. I run a few classrooms away, sit against the wall, and wait for any information. Students and teachers start piling in. I look around and realize I can’t trust anyone. At this point, no one knows who the shooter is. Finally, the teachers shut and locked the door.


Calling my Brother


The first person I can get a hold of is my brother. He tells me that there’s been a school shooting and someone has died. My heart sinks, and all I can think about are my friends. Fear courses through my veins as I struggle to get a hold of them. Luckily, they’re all okay. I go on Twitter and desperately try to find some information. Someone sitting close to me tells me who the shooter is. I am completely shocked and In denial. I’ve known this kid since seventh grade. There’s no way he did this. I was wrong. He did do it.


We are sitting and waiting to be told what to do next when a student starts banging on the door. He was banging on the door hard and asking to be let it. Fear overcomes my body. I remember begging God that they wouldn’t open that door. Luckily, they didn’t. We sat there until like 9:30, and then we were told we must get on a bus.




They let us out of the room, but we all must go in a single file line. Teachers and Swat line the walls and make a pathway to the buses. The look in the eyes of the swat member will be in my head forever. We get on the bus, and we sit there forever. I remember looking out the bus window and seeing a news helicopter flying over us. I remember being angry that they were already swarming. I mean, people just died to show some respect. It was insensitive.


Transporting Us


At around Eleven, they gave us a police escort to the nearest middle school. We took the back roads there. They piled us all into the gym and waited for our names to be called so we could leave with our parents. I remember getting home at noon, and my family had the news on the television. I hear them reporting things that didn’t happen, so I go to my room. I couldn’t sleep that night. My adrenaline was pumping. My friends can’t sleep either. We all stay up and talk.


Going Back to School


I was battling anorexia at the time, so I didn’t eat anyways, but at this time, I go the longest I ever have without eating. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified. Going back to school was horrible. We went back on a Friday. We all met in the gym. Going to the gym was for a moment of silence, prayer, and hearing about all the available resources. The school was never the same. We jumped at every dropped book. We were constantly looking over our shoulders. We were all wary of strangers. We enjoyed the service dogs that came to the school. That was the best part. We played card games to pass the time.




I always told myself that If something like that happened to me, I would never go back to school, and I finished my year out there and then became homeschooled. I couldn’t bring myself to sit down in that school and worry about who was walking through the door. I couldn’t sit there and continue to jump at every dropped book. I’ve only been to the school twice since then, and I still struggle with going there.


I kept in contact with the teachers I was in the classroom with that day. You will hardly ever catch me in sandals in public because they aren’t good running shoes. Every year, I plug in my headphone and blare my music, so I don’t hear the fireworks. I can hear gunshots and shoot guns (I’m a pretty good shot), but there’s something about fireworks that I can’t handle. I wish people would be more considerate of people like me every year.


Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

My guest blogger wants to step back in time and parent that child who was abused and never truly parented.  She wants that little girl to know that what is happening is wrong and that she is not at fault.  What a beautiful way to begin the healing process.

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I have written numerous letters to others who have significantly hurt me, but I have yet to write a letter to the person I feel has hurt me the most. 

That person is me. 

For years I have “punished” myself for things that were not my fault. It has been hard to remember that when bad things were happening to me, I was between the ages of 7 and 11. I have blamed myself for years for the people around me dying. I have blamed myself for not being there for them while they die. Like, for goodness sake, Sarah, you were like 9. It is not your responsibility to take care of people who are dying.


When my dad divorced for a second time, we had just moved, and we were tight on money. It is not that my dad was not making enough. It was because he gave his ex-wife a good chunk of his money. So, I started skipping meals to ensure everyone had enough to eat. When I ate, my brother would comment on my weight or how much I was eating. I stopped eating for weeks and started working six days a week. 

After over a year of doing that 

I finally realized that it wasn’t my responsibility to ensure everyone ate. It was my father’s, and he was incredibly absent then. So I slowly started eating again. I have better eating habits now, but I still have days when I feel I shouldn’t be eating. To this day, if I have to get weighed, I can’t look at the scale because If I see what it says, I will spiral.

Absent Parent

Around that same time, my dad was incredibly absent. All of the cooking, cleaning, and children became my responsibility. I was the parent in the household. I juggled all of my duties at home, schoolwork, and band. 

The only thing I remember from this period of my life is being incredibly exhausted. It was at this time sister would hardly sleep. And she became violent. So I would wake up at three in the morning to her punching me in the face or pulling my hair. I remember the countless morning of me just crying because I was so tired and in pain. 

That was a super dark time in my life. 

This was the beginning of a super dark time for me. I had zero will to live. I didn’t care what happened to me. Honestly, I wish this part of my story had a happier ending, but I’m still learning that Madison isn’t my child or my responsibility. 

I feel guilty when I go out while she’s at the house. Also, I feel anxious that something terrible will happen to her while I am gone. I feel like I have been better about leaving her home, so that is a step in the right direction.

The Shooting

Then, I guess the last piece of this story is about the shooting. I remember that morning going into the band room with my friends. I stood across the room from him and just stared at him. The atmosphere that morning felt off. 

I used to blame myself for not talking to him that morning. I used to think that he wouldn’t have killed two people if I had just talked to him. That was his choice, not mine. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It is not my fault. After a while of repeating that to myself, I finally believed it.