— Rick Townsend, father of Lauren Townsend, who died at Columbine High School
I know what you are going through.
It is a lonely, empty and numb place. It will get better. Time has a way of doing that, with God’s soft guidance and love.
— Patricia DePooter, mother of Corey DePooter, who died at Columbine High School
The first thing I would say is that there are a lot of people who understand exactly what you are going through. And at the same time, there is no one who understands exactly what you are going though, because each person’s experience is unique to themselves.
But regardless of whether people understand, they want to help. And the best thing that you can do for yourselves as a community and as individuals is to accept that help.
What happened to you is unlike anything that has happened to anyone else — including those of us who experienced Columbine. But from my experience, I've learned it’s extremely important to let yourself feel the emotions you have, to let yourself grieve, to let yourself be angry and to let yourself ask questions.
At the end of the day, there is never going to be an answer that satisfies everyone. In the face of this type of horrific adversity, the only thing we can do, truly, is to wake up every day and to promise ourselves that today, I will live well. I will be happy. I will do good.
That is not an easy path. It will take a long time — likely years. But point yourself in a direction and start heading that way, as soon as you feel able. In the meantime, know that we are with you.
—Scott Rathbun, student at Columbine during the 1999 shootings
I will speak to the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, because that’s what I know about. Thank you for being there for your kids. You represent the best in our profession and we at Columbine High School are proud of all of you.
To those who survived, don’t forget to take care of yourself because you'll be busy taking care of your students when you get back to school. Also, don’t forget, or shut out, your spouse, partner or family. They are hurting too, and they can be your greatest source of strength. This isn’t going to get any easier any time soon.
Finally to the families of the staff members who gave their lives: Your daughters, wives, mothers and sisters are heroes. Remember the good things about them and the special moments you shared with them.
—Lee Andres, music teacher at Columbine during the 1999 shootings
The journey that the community has started will most likely last a lifetime, as the impact will never truly go away. Words cannot express my deepest sympathy in the aftermath of this horrible event.
There are different stages of healing and moving forward. Give yourself the ability to open up no matter how long it takes. For a very long time I held all my feelings in and in the end it prolonged my grieving. Sometimes the pain, mental or physical, can be crippling. Do not be scared to reach out and accept help from others.
This is a very overwhelming and surreal moment, but know that there are people — especially those of us in the Columbine community — that would love to help in any way possible. We will never know what exactly you are going through, but there is a level of understanding.
While there is darkness now, there will be light. Don’t lose faith, don’t allow this to control who you are.
You are not alone.
— Sean Graves, student injured at Columbine during the 1999 shootings