Thank-you, Sam

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It’s the simple things that are the hardest.

Walking down the street without

…getting jumpy

having flashbacks…

looking both ways 50 times- before deciding you’d rather keep walking

not having a breakdown. today.

So you tell yourself you’re still a normal person with a few minor setbacks.

…Erase that place and live like it never happened

Never go there again…but you know it’s still there

That same spot that hasn’t changed in years but yet you have in so many ways,

Yet…you are stuck. On that day, that sound, that picture.

Everyone else changes around you. They ask,

“Why can’t you just do it? It’s so simple”

“It’s time to move on, don’t you think?”

“We all go through hard times” (PS That┬áis my favorite of them all)

Sam Garnillo understands. For 15 years he’s lived a normal life from May to March until April comes and everything is perfect except for the reminder of his normal day at Columbine High School. Now in his 30’s, Sam still struggles to forget the events of April 20th when he stopped being a teenager and felt the pain of trauma first hand.

Dateline’s Lester Holt followed Sam across the country as he visited schools where the same violence took place. Hoping to reach out to others, Sam found healing of his own. The biggest impact on Sam was when he spoke with two teachers, one bitter and sad, and one hurting, but peaceful. She told Sam, “Just because you didn’t get shot, doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer.” Sam was speechless. No one had ever said that to him before. He had no physical wounds, nothing visible to show from his trauma. Sam was so speechless, all he could offer was a quiet, “Thank-you… for that”. While one woman lived in bitterness and sadness (“It’s not worth my time to think about; yet I still cried even when I tried to leave the country”), another took her pain and reached out to Sam.

Sam also met with a reflective father at Illinois Northern University. The father sat with Sam and made him feel like his experiences were valid. he shared the beautiful memories of his daughter and embraced Sam as two friends connected over a shared tragedy.

Although deeply broken by his trip, Sam was encouraged by the journey that he was healing from. he came to help others and others helped him. He started having dreams where he took back ownership of his life and the day that caused him and hundreds of others so much pain. He made friends who understood his emotional setbacks. After 15 years, this small step towards recovery was finally happening after he met with these people. Coincidence or God-given angels who just had a peace about them?

Sam understands.

I get it.

Thank-you God.