Today marks the one year anniversary of the most terribly day of my life. As I’m writing this, it’s 4:13 p.m. One year ago at 4:13 p.m. I was still sitting in my classroom with 15 students waiting to be released. The SWAT Team wouldn’t even get to my classroom for over an hour.
To say that this has been a difficult year is the biggest understatement ever. I have mourned, grieved, been angry, spoken out, sought therapy and tried really hard to take care of myself.
My husband gives me a single rose dipped in 24-karat gold every year. Every year it’s a different color, and we keep them in a vase. We decided that we wouldn’t exchange gifts, or view the day as a sappy day of love, flowers and candy. He surprised me by getting me the rose anyway. This year the rose was orange. Orange for Jaime. Orange for gun reform. Orange to symbolize determination, encouragement, strength and endurance. He has always been thoughtful and romantic. This small gesture meant so much more than just a gift – it was a symbol of his love for me, the pride he feels in what I’m doing to fight for something that matters. He loved me, through and through.
Today I decided to spend the day with friends. We went to the spa and had various treatments. I got a hot stone massage and a mani/pedi. We then went to The Temple of Time, an art installation in Coral Springs that is intended to provide peace and reflection for the community; it will be burned in a ceremonial fire in a few weeks.
After the Temple of Time, we went to have lunch at Moe’s. I laughed when I realized that’s where we were headed. I ate dinner at Moe’s on 2/14, after leaving the Heron Bay Marriott. That’s where I caught a glimpse of the news for the first time; it seems so surreal. I was a quarter mile from school, where I had been on lockdown, and I was now watching it on the news like it was a world away. Lunch was good, but the irony was not lost on me.
We then headed to Pine Trails Park, about one mile north of school, to see the memorials that were on display. There was a community vigil scheduled for the evening, but I just knew I wouldn’t be up for it. It was nice to be there and take it all in on my own time, without having to rush.
We ate dinner with my brother. While there, we watched the interview I had recorded the day earlier for PBS News Hour. (link below)
While Valentine’s Day will never be Valentine’s Day again, I was surrounded my love and family and friends who support me.