Ten years ago today, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was in high school, and it was a typical day. We all where in our "lunchroom" eating our lunch when the principal came in and got our attention. He announced that one of the other local schools had a shooting, and we didn't know how bad it was, but that we should all pray. The rest of the afternoon most of us where numb and worried, we all had friends there, and all we knew was that it was bad.
The next day I went to school hoping for updates from friends on other friends, hoping that since I didn't get a hold of anyone, someone else did. Each person we knew I heard about and got the all clear that they where ok, all but one. We had to wait another week to finally confirm "officially" that she wasn't ok.
Cassie had attended our small school for a short time. I remember her very first day at our school, it was a Wednesday. I remember that because Wednesday's where the day we all where required to dress up, I even remember her dress because it was my favorite color. I remember rolling my eyes at a few of the boys because they saw some "fresh meat" and where all discussing who would talk to her first. They quickly learned she wasn't going to put up with being the new "fresh meat" of the school from what I saw.
We were not the best of friends, in fact we never really saw each other outside of school. I do remember that I had one teacher who really thought that Cassie and I would be good friends if I could step out and not be so shy. Every time we had a class project assigned to 'team up' on, he would pair me with her to hope that we would be able to grow closer. I still have one of those assignments we worked on together, and on occasion read over it.
One vivid memory I have of her is sitting outside during lunch hour, she was laying in the sun in the grass and was asking questions about death. It wasn't morbid, or out of fear, but she had such a peace about discussing it. She knew where she was going when she passed away, and even though she didn't know when it would happen and I am certain didn't expect it to happen so young, she was full of peace about death and it happening some day.
Each April 20th, I will remember Cassie, and though I didn't know her extremely well, I am grateful for the short time that I got to speak with her and listen to what she had to say. I will always remember that peace about her, and her dedication to what she believed in.
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