I am sure that by the time you see this the media will have shown so many stories, and images of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
32 kids got up and went to class like any of us, but for the last time.
Its definitely hard to find the words to describe how and what to feel.
Even though I wasn’t there; I do know, I do have some sort of an idea how those grieving feel.
I don’t know what else to say other than to use my own experience spending time with someone who really does.
You don’t know what it is really like to go through something like that until you spend time with someone who went through it.
Valerie Haile-King, life has never been the same since April 20, 1999.
This story is hers, her life before and after knowing Rachel Scott,
and I hope you have a chance to read it .
I first met Val on the Rachels Challenge message board I think in 2002.
She was open about everything that happened, things she learned, and overall she
is just a phenomenal person.
In August 2003, I went to Colorado, and I met her face to face for the first time.
She asked if I wanted to see the school, and putting down my drink, I could only answer,
” Um, ok.”
I didn’t know what I would be in for.
We got to the campus, and interesting enough were able to just walk right through the halls no problem, and there were tiles above each locker dedicated to the victims slain.
We went into the multipurpose room, and stood on stage, and she started to explain to me where everyone stood during the play, and I watched her focus turn to the edge of the stage where she then told me, ” This is where they found her backpack.” or something to that extent.
She became really ill stomached, and when we came out of the bathroom, she then informed me it was her first time back inside the school since the shootings. As we walked out she stopped one last moment to tell me where it was where Rachel was shot. I was shocked that that was the day she decided to go back.
After that, she said she wanted to show me Rachel’s grave. Of course, after just seeing what happened at the school, I told her,” You don’t have to take me there, you really don’t,”
and she just turned to me and said, ” I want to show you.”
We got there, at this time it was maybe a half hr before dark, and we both sat down right besides Rachel’s grave, and she introduced me to Rachel.
I asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I prayed with her, and so we did; and I can’t tell you what it was but for both of us, as we even speak of now, that was a real special spiritual experience.
We were surrounded by all who were slain at Columbines graves, so it was just so evident to me
how close God was right then and there. And that in a strange way I got to meet all of them.
She told me no one had ever prayed with her there.
A week or so before the shootings Val told me she got a clue about Rachel’s short life, she asked Rachel about the apartment and what kinds of paintings to put in there. Rachel replied to her to not worry about tomorrow, but just focus on today for right now.
After my experience there, and my time with Val, I have realized how important it is for us to really live life to the fullest, and those that leave a legacy people remember forever, but those who die without wanting to make any difference in the world, they are a short image in the back of our minds.
Having Val for a friend apart from how we met; I gotta tell you I am blessed.
Whenever I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, or saying enough to help someone Val would say to me,
” Ang, stop it, you do more for people in a day then what takes others a month to accomplish.”
I can tell her anything and we never spend just like a half hour on the phone, but more like hours. She understands me completely and I understand her, and through Rachel’s story, I met one of my dearest friends in the world, who even though I didn’t know Rachel, I do know that God changed Val’s life to an extent that she could have never imagined.
” Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance.” – Rachel Scott