Sit, Watch and Wait: Facing The Unexpected

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Staff Photo

Leilani Fierro, staff writer, had a personal connection to the tragedy at Timberview

My mom lived through the Timberview Shooting that took place on Oct. 6. Just like everyone else, I always thought that could never happen to me or to anyone I loved until it did. Thankfully my mom made it out safely, but the effects of it impacted my life.   

The morning of the shooting I sat in my second period when I received a text from my mom saying “I have something to tell you and I don’t want you to freak out. We are in lockdown. A student has a gun.” My heart dropped as I read those words over and over again as if they would suddenly change. But they did not and as my classmates began to whisper it started to become real. 

Text messages from my friends started pouring in with so many questions that I knew I did not want to face the answers to. I did not want to accept the fact that my mom, my best friend and my rock, was inside the same building as the shooter. I wanted to put on a brave face for everyone around me but as the whispers turned into class discussions I could not help but begin to panic. I excused myself from the classroom to escape and attempt to control my mind that ran wild.

I had no destination in mind. I just knew I needed silence. As I walked the hall, I was quickly met by a friend who knew my mom worked at Timberview. On separate ends of the hallway, I was able to keep it together until we embraced in a hug. I just broke down into tears and finally admitted to myself that I felt scared. 

Updates from my mom continued and she told me she was in a closet with other staff and students. Knowing she was not alone and hiding brought the slightest bit of relief.

My English teacher found me and my friend in the hallway and allowed us into her classroom. She turned on the news and the three of us watched nervously as cops surrounded Timberview. I felt so helpless knowing that I could not do anything but sit, watch and wait.

It is not hard to take time for granted. As I sat waiting for my mom to get safely out of the school, I really thought about if this would have ended differently would I be able to say I cherished every moment I had. Not just with her, but with all the people that I care about.”

— Leilani Fierro

News of the shooter no longer in the building calmed my nerves. But then the thoughts of “what if” circled my mind. The morning before school started, I was in the shower when my mom left for work, when she left we exchanged “I love yous” and headed our separate ways. 

These questions lingered in my mind as I watched everything unfold, what if something worse had happened to her during the shooting? What if that was the last time I saw my mom? I didn’t even get to give her a hug. How would I have lived with myself knowing that if I would have just woken up a few minutes earlier I could have given her one. 

It is not hard to take time for granted. As I sat waiting for my mom to get safely out of the school, I really thought about if this would have ended differently would I be able to say I cherished every moment I had. Not just with her, but with all the people that I care about. 

My mom called me when she was safely out of the school at around 1 p.m. I could fully calm down knowing the nightmare ended. My dad and I picked her up from the Performing Arts Center around 5 p.m. Seeing her walk out of the building was the biggest relief. I jumped out of the car and gave her the biggest hug.

It is so easy to get caught up in our daily routines, that we look past the time we have together. We are all just trying to get through the day that we forget to actually live through it. Sometimes even just taking that second to put everything down and admire the people around you, taking the time to remind them you love them and giving them that extra hug will make all the difference.