Friday, April 16, 2010

In Remembrance...

April 16, 2007, it was an unusually cold day, actually snowing in parts of Virginia.  Late that morning, I got a frantic text message from my daughter, "Mom Meg isn't answering her phone!"  Knowing my daughter's impatience and tendancy to panic easily, I texted back, "How long have you been trying?"  She asked in return, "Haven't you heard what's happening??"  At that point, I called her.  I was at work that morning, insulated from the news.  She had already heard that there was a sniper shooting people on the campus of Virginia Tech, and 2 were already confirmed dead.  Meg, one of her closest friends, was there for her first year of graduate school. 

Immediately, I turned on the small television that I've kept in my office at work since September 11, 2001.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  There was live footage from the campus, and you could clearly hear gunfire.  My mind flashed back to my four years there as a student.  I had always loved how peaceful it was on our campus in the little southwest town of Blacksburg, Virginia.  We were a large school - population nearly 25,000 then, but the little town of Blacksburg had only a population of around 8,000.  The student population in 2007 was over 40,000, but the town is still small.  It was unfathomable to me that this was happening there.

Right away, I got on the phone to call my husband and my sister and her husband.  All four of us are VT grads.  Over the next few hours, we tried to get in touch with people that we knew had kids there.  Eventually, my daughter heard from Meg - thank God for Facebook!  As you can imagine, phone lines in and out of Blacksburg were all busy, so many parents tried frantically for hours to reach their children.  Ultimately, it was Facebook that most of the kids used to communicate with each other and with their families.  Later that afternoon, I got another text message from my daughter; "They say 32 dead."  It was a haunting message that I looked at many times over the next weeks, still not believing it had happened.

When word began to come out about the victims, we were shaken to find out that an old friend that we adored had lost his beautiful daughter, and a co-worker of my husband's had lost a nephew.  I felt helpless.  I wanted to help in some way, but there was really nothing I could do but offer words of love and support.  Then I got an idea: I would appeal to all of my stamping friends to send cards to the families.  I posted on Splitcoast Stampers and asked for cards to be sent directly to me, which I then forwarded to our friends.  The response moved me to tears.  Cards flooded in for weeks.  The one pictured here is the one that I made. 

On this day, three years later, I am aching to be on the Virginia Tech campus for the memorial services.  My sister and her son - now a sophomore there - are running in a 16-mile marathon today in rememberance of the 16th of April, 2007.  Please say a prayer for them, and for the families of the vicitims.  Three short years later, it will be a difficult day for them.

14 comments:

Jodie R said...

Cindy, Your story touched my soul! We always hear about these things and think, "Well, that happened somewhere else. We are fine. It wasn't anyone I know." But we forget that those were real people. They had lives, families and did normal everyday things we do. It could have just as easily been us. My daughter was a junior at Granite Hills High School, where they had a similar situation. No one died thank goodness, but I will never forget the horror of that day either.

My heart goes out to all the people affected by this tragedy. Their lives are forever changed because of the events of this day, unfortunately not for the better.

Thank you for sharing this deeply personal moment with us!

Jodie

Jamiecrafts said...

I will be praying for your family and all the families today that they may have the strength they need!

Dreama said...

Such a sad remembrance but one that needs to be kept alive. Still praying for your family and all VT-related families.

Kymberlee said...

I agree with Jodie's post and also want to thank you for sharing your story with your often nameless and faceless blog readers.
I hope you and the families find strength, peace and comfort in remembering their loved ones on this day

Audrey Frelx said...

Ditto to all of the previous comments, I couldn't have said it any better. My prayers to your family for the loss of friends and their families, and extended prayers going to the families that suffered/are suffering losses. My thoughts will be with you all on this anniversary.

217 Creations said...

Many thoughts and prayers!

mimiof2 said...

Thanks so much for what you have written here. VT is a very special place for my family as well; both my son and his wife are graduates, and I also have a dear friend who is employed there. We had come to love the university and the town long before the tragedy and will never forget that terrible day. All victims and those affected are in our prayers.
Karen

Ladybug said...

Prayers being sent your way.

paperscissors said...

no words can really express sorrow...it is our actions and deeds that demonstrate our rememberance. prayers to all!

4kids4 said...

A terrible tragedy. Sending thoughts and prayers.

Kendra Hottle said...

I absoutly love this card! You did an amazing job. Definitely a day that will not be forgotten...

gabyangel said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes...prayers your way and to the victim's families.

Lysa said...

Dear Cindy,
Thank you so much for this post. My Dad (born in 1922) graduated from Virginia Polytech in 1944. My Dad died in 2000, passing only 14 days after my Mom. There are only 2 times that I thought to myself and said to my family the phase "I am glad Daddy is not here to see this" the first was 9/11 the second was this day in Blackburg. I called my brother(who is 4 hours away) I said to my brother I never thought I could be thankful that Dad wasn't here to see this and now this is the second time. This was just not right. My heart and prayers to all who have been touched by this day. Thank you Cindy, I appreciate the reminder.
Lysa

Shawnee said...

Your story really touched my heart. I am praying for the families. Thank you for the reminder to pray for them.

Shawnee

About Me

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Midlothian, Virginia, United States
Lifetime crafter, beginning with sewing clothes for my troll dolls when I was 5. Stampin' Up! demonstrator since 2000. Wife of almost 30 years to my high school sweetheart and planning on 30 more! Mom to 2 great kids and one awesome new son-in-law. "Mom" to 3 furkids, Pomeranians Roxy and Lulu, and a Calico cat, Sugar aka "Miss Fattypants." Addicted to all things Disney!