Kacey Ruegsegger Johnson: "Over My Shoulder" | Talks at Google
Thanks. For coming everyone it's, my pleasure to introduce to you Casey rooks Hager Johnson, she's, a wife mother. Spokesperson. For the importance of tissue donation, and a Columbine High School shooting survivor, just. Let that sink in for a second Casey. Has spent nearly two decades coming, to terms with the haunting reality, of April 20th 1999. Her. Journey to healing the truth, and the wisdom that comes along with navigating, PTSD, during motherhood and how, others can survive to thrive are. Shared within the pages of her new book over my shoulder please, join me in welcoming Casey. Good. Morning, I'm so happy to be here and honored to get to talk. A little bit about my story. And, that really is all it. Is it's just a story and it's not one that. As a child I would. Have signed up for probably. Or even had the courage to choose. I was. Lacy Casey when I was little and I, was a really timid. Quiet. Little girl who liked to watch life from the sidelines. Do. Gymnastics, ride. Horses but, really. Not engage, and you never would have guessed that I would be in front of a crowd one day I. Never. Would have thought that either I had. What most. Little, girls would dream of for a childhood no. Worries no concerns, I. Had, really rambunctious brothers, and sisters that entertained, me constantly. And. Life. Was going great and I I dreamed, of the Cinderella, story where, I'd meet Prince Charming and right away on the white horse and never. Imagined, that my, childhood would be preparing me for a, very different story. This, is what my. Childhood looked like until high school and. It was my sophomore year in high school when things got dark really. Fast. I came. Home from lunch one day. To. Find. A message on the machine that. Something, was seriously wrong with my good four mark so, I called his house his. Older brother answered, I said what's the matter with mark and. He told me that mark was dead that morning. Mark had hung himself committed. Suicide I fell. To my knees I, didn't. Know how to respond, I was hysterical, how. Do you just lose a friend that. Fast and I. Felt very quickly. Into a deep and dark depression. Teenagers. Aren't equipped to handle these kinds of emotions, or these kinds of circumstances. I was, confused I was angry, I was, sad and, then. It, got worse when, a month later Mark's. Really. Good guy friend did the same thing so. In one month two boys from our group of friends had, been lost to suicide and that, just. Sent me over the edge I really, didn't know what to do I couldn't, eat I couldn't function, I couldn't think straight I was having, visions of these boys. And. I was in a lot of trouble. My, parents are trying to figure out what to do with me how to help me I of, course wanted nothing to do with them push them away thought. Maybe I had this figured out clearly, I didn't and. Eventually. It got to the point when I really, thought the, only answer, was, to do the same thing they've done to. End, my. Life that's the only way to escape from this pain and confusion and, chaos that, felt, so out of control to me but. What was weird is I knew. I was out of control and I couldn't do anything about it and, so. My parents caught wind somehow, of my, plan to take my own life that, Sunday, out in their barn at 3 o'clock I don't know how they got this information. But. They did and in. Their panic of trying to rescue me a counselor, told them to, act like parents, I hated.
Him For it they, completely took over my life I was, sleeping on the floor in their room doors. Were taken off I wasn't allowed to lock the door went out to the bathroom I wasn't allowed to go to school, my. Life was completely taken over. But. Looking back what happened, in that time is that they. Took the control for me when I couldn't, do for myself and now, looking, back it, was, a grand rescue, that pulled me back out of this darkness and, that. Summer, I started, to see the light again I was. Back on my horse competing, nationwide. Kinda. Where I found my joy. And my healing was at the barn with my horse and with. My friends, and. That summer a third boy died and. It. Was at that point I realized I just needed a new start I don't want to go back to that school again I need. Something, fresh so I moved to Columbine that's. Where my, best friend went to school so I went to school with her and it was a great year but. I wasn't super involved at the school because, I was so focused on riding my horse and competing, to get to the World Championships, the next summer so this, picture is actually, on April 18th, of 1999. I was. Leading Colorado. In. All, the competition, to make it to the world show in August, for that summer life, was going great. And then. April 20th, came and something. As I stepped outside of the house told me to, go back in and tell, my mom. Who. Is. Sitting right in front of me. Tell. Her that I loved her which, is not something I normally did. So. I took that step back and I yelled love you mom she. Yelled love you a case and out, I went. So. The day started, normal like any other day. Excuse. Me. And. Around lunchtime is, when. Things changed. Everyday, my best friend Lindsey and I would meet at our locker drive, to my parents house where my mom would have cookies and sandwiches. Waiting, for us totally. Spoil us, but, on this day I couldn't find Lindsey, so. I went to our locker. Looked. For her went to her math class couldn't, find her and as I walked in front of the library I realized, I wasn't gonna have time to make it home for lunch that day so I went into the library for the first time ever of that. Year and in, this bottom picture on the right you'll see the, black. Chair up against the window that's. Where I sat, with. A magazine and. Just started reading a gossip magazine killing. Time a few. Moments later some shots came from outside I, didn't, know they were shots it was just noises I looked outside nothing, caught. My eye, but. Then a couple minutes after that teachers came running in yelling to get your heads under the tables there's boys outside with guns and it was very clear from the panic in her voice that this was real this, was actually happening so you'll, see there the row of computer, tables, I ran.
About Ten feet in front of me from that chair, hid. Under a computer, desk that maybe was. As wide as this podium and pulled, the chair in next to me thinking I've got, a really great hiding spot they're not gonna see me here the. Shots got closer louder. We, heard them yelling and, I. Just started to pray for, my life and. As. They. Entered the library and started shooting and laughing and yelling at everybody telling. Us that this was our day to die I felt. Like I'd been punched in the stomach, and. I was praying and all, of a sudden I felt a hand, lay. On my back and. I thought nobody can fit in here with me how, how. Was this hand here so I turned around to look and nobody. Was there, but. The hand was. Still firmly set on my back and in, that moment I felt a complete peace come over me I knew, I would be shot, I knew. My turn was coming and I was okay with it I was prepared a few. Minutes later I turn, around to see one. Of the shooters kneeling down about five, or six feet behind me pointing. The gun at the boy who was hiding in the spot, next to me they. Were so close I turned away plugged. My ears knowing, that I was gonna be next, he. Shot and killed the boy who was hiding behind me turned. The gun on me, I, remember. Hearing the shot and. It. Came through, my shoulder. Through. The front through, my hand that was plugging my ear and straight across my neck and. As. This shot hit me I fell forward and saw my arm fall in front of me and. It knocked the wind out of me and, he yelled at me to quit my bitching, I. Thought. He'd shoot me again so. I quit breathing pretended. To be dead hoping. He'd move on he, did, in. Those moments when. He had gotten farther away, and, I knew he couldn't see me I checked out the damage and I couldn't move my arm my, neck was swelling and it felt really difficult to breathe and. It maybe, three minutes after that, the. Shooters went somewhere. Else and a. Boy came, to his feet and hollered. At all of us to get out it's our time to escape was. The first time I realized that I couldn't move my arm I could, not get that chair out from beside me and a. Boy came over, stopped. Running for his life to help save, mine he pulled the chair out pulled, me to my feet and we ran out and. You'll see in this picture of people, hiding behind the, police car so, we ran behind a police car waited. Again police. Car picked me up, dropped. Me off at another spot picked. Me up again and finally, dropped me off, at. A triage, area in a neighborhood nearby this. Is a picture of me in the triage area waiting for, the. Ambulance to come pick me up and. I would as I was laying there an off-duty, came to my side and she, said. You're. Going straight into surgery and I asked her are they gonna cut my arm off she. Couldn't tell me no so. I waited the, ambulance, came they loaded me on the gurney and. I. Don't. Know how I had this clarity of mine but when they put me on the gurney my favorite shoe fell off my left foot and it, was laying there in the grass and I was really concerned and I said hold on just a minute the. Shoe can you please get the shoe and these, people are looking at me like woman you, you've got problems, way bigger than his shoe so. They. Left the shoe behind nonetheless. We were on the way to the hospital where. The, first time I cried is when my dad walked into the hospital and I felt so badly that he had to see me that way and I, asked him I said daddy did you see the hole in my arm and he said yes, very. Calmly because, he didn't want to scare me with how bad I looked. And.
Then It was really about saving. My life initially, and then what are we gonna do, with, a 17, year old girl who's at risk of being an amputee. Doctors. Met across the nation phone, calls trying to figure out how they were gonna save my arm and allow. Me the, best chance at a normal life going forward. So. Here you see the x-ray. Before. It was fixed and literally. The. Shotgun. Slug. Destroyed. My shoulder turned, it into a cloud of dust and. Besides. The imputation the, next best option was, suggested, by this man dr. Ross Wilkins, who was here in Denver, lucky, for me, he. Suggested. Using an allograft which. Is a cadaver bone, something. That our family had, never heard about we've, heard about organ. Donation and the life-saving impact, of organ donation but never had we heard, that. You could use a cadaver bone to replace missing, or broken. Bones. So. He suggested, this surgery and the surgery. Went well you'll. See here the cadaver bone that, they put in and then. The end result which looks much better than the cloud that was there before and, as. My dad was showing me these x-rays, you. The little monitor on, my chest I had no idea what that was, and. I asked him I said what is that what else did they put in me and, he very calmly and seriously looked at me and said I had, them put a tracker inside, you and. I. Looked at him like is. Is he serious. Obviously. That wasn't true, even though he may have liked that to, be the case so the surgery was successful and, I I got. To keep my arm it. Didn't have much function, if you can, see this is as high as my. Arm will raise but. Standing, here I look just like anybody else, such, a gift but at the time I didn't think much about it I was too sick I was just surviving, and. When. You're in the middle of a national, tragedy and you're just begging for any light to come in and insync, calls and you're, 17, when I was 17, oh my. Goodness cue, the glam squad they, washed my hair that day they put makeup on me and insync, came for a visit which. Now. I can say that me and JT you go 20, years back in the good. Bud he, doesn't know that but. It. Just was a moment, of light that our family needed and so many. Professional. Athletes and other. Celebrities, reached out which just offered. Some amount of lightness in such a hard time. So. I was in the hospital two weeks and, then. Came. This other recovery, I never could have expected here. You see me leaving the hospital looking, terrified, I'm facing. A wall of reporters, who, are firing questions at me giving. Me all this attention I never wanted I don't I don't want this attention I don't know why you're talking to me I don't want to answer your questions, I don't feel safe going, home and. The. Physical recovery was starting now but really I was stepping out into the world. With. A brand new normal, that I didn't know what to do with I had a broken mind a broken, body a broken, heart and I, didn't know how to function at, all but. I still had the goal of getting back on my horse and getting that world championship show those boys weren't gonna steal that for me so. I fought with my surgeon for a long time many months to get back on my horse and.
Trained. For a year in the next summer I made it to the world championship show which. Felt, like the first big victory in. Life, since. Surviving, the shooting and the. Suicides, it, was really an exciting time. However. After. That point I had to go to college figure out what I wanted to do and I. Really. Struggled, going to school I struggled to be in society I had very bad PTSD. Noises. Would scare me I couldn't. Be alone a car. Backfiring, would make me panic when I was driving. Everything. Scared, me and I, was. Really just surviving, and getting by for, many years. Then, I met this guy and the. Light started to come in like maybe I could have the Cinderella story even. Though nothing in, the last five, or six years had looked like that, he. Was the prince charming and it, was kind of the turning point, where he brought this calm he didn't experience this with our family and he, brought this calm to my life and helped. Me to step into situations and talk me through them and teach, me how to retrain. My brain to, handle panic, attacks and to. Take the control back from. That kind, of anxiety, he. Proposed. And. We were married which, was, just a brand-new start to, life for me I. Was, working as a nurse at the time. But. Two years into my nursing career, the. Physical. Impacts were too hard on my shoulder and my surgeon, told me I had to quit and that's. The first time I probably felt angry about any of this is that, my, identity was wrapped up and being a nurse giving back the same way the nurses gave to me and now. I couldn't do it because of what these boys had done to me I was living in pain I wasn't, a mom yet I didn't, know what I was worth what. I was gonna do with myself and. It was a really hard. Time for me to, figure out what I wanted to do with my life that, still felt like such a mess. Well. Then we, had four kids and, if that doesn't give me a purpose oh my, goodness. And, it was when we had these kids. That. I started to realize put. Myself in my parents situation. They. Were just moments away from deciding, if I would be the donor and. Up. To this point I hadn't really thought about the. Person who donated the bone that saved, my arm, that, gives me two arms to wrap around those four babies. So, as a parent I just started thinking about these things and thinking about this life that, I'm so blessed to be living and. Then. I started thinking about how. Am I gonna send them to school I, I. Can't put my kids in a school to have the same thing happen to them that happened to me and I. Thought I'm, just gonna keep them in these two arms forever and never let him go out anywhere. But. That wasn't right so, then. I started sharing, my story. Because. My surgeon, who you see here who's, been a very good friend of mine asked. Me to speak at this conference and I only did it because he saved my arm for me I don't, like being in front of people at the time and I didn't understand why would anybody want to hear from me I have a laundry, list of bad things that have happened and. I, have no perspective to share about it but. I went and I tucked in front of a crowd of, about a thousand, people and the, response from people after that was. So encouraging, it. Was. 13. Years after the shooting I'd had enough time to heal I'd had enough time, to realize, how. I wanted, to let the. Shooting impact, my life going forward and how. In, sharing. My story maybe. I could encourage somebody else who, was going through a hard time that yes the battle is hard the journey is long but it's so worth it and beauty. Can come out of really bad circumstances. So, I started sharing my story a little, bit, shaking. With my speech and being nervous, wreck in front of people and. Then I started meeting other people who were sharing their stories and being. Around them encouraged, me, that. It's in sharing our stories that we find more healing, and purpose and the things that we've been through and we, get courage from other people who are doing the same thing and I. Mean. This man is one example who's got a crazy. Story, and was. Almost burned alive from an accident and his, courage, to. Share encouraged. Me to keep sharing mine and finding, healing and purpose in my own story.
So. One of these conferences, that I was speaking at somebody asked me about the bone donation, they. Said, did. The donation save, your life like. An organ donor, like a normal excuse, me an organ donation does and that, question. Really threw me because. Know medically. The. Donation, didn't save my life, but. What is life and, that's. When I started thinking as a mom and that I've got two. Arms to, hold my kids to walk across the street holding two hands to hold a book in one hand and a child in the other and how. Very different my life would look had. I been the seventeen-year-old amputee. That's. Life it, completely, saved, my. Life in a different sense, and the, quality of my life and, the fullness of my life is much. Better. Because, of this donation. So. Then people said you should write a book I. Laughed. For many years again, I didn't understand, why people would want to hear from me I'm not an expert at anything except this life that looks like chaos trying to raise four kids. But. The truth is I have. Gained a lot of healing and sharing my story and sadly. Events. Like Columbine keep, happening and, there. Was nobody in my life at the time of Columbine who could tell me in five, years you might feel like this this, is what PTSD feels. Like in ten, years you might feel a little more encouraged, hey, in 15 years you're gonna be doing great, nobody. Could tell us that and it was a little bit lonely to. Be the victim of something so big and not have anybody to relate to or to understand, and I. Wanted to be that for the people who are going through these events or. Who. Are suicidal as teenagers, I wanted to encourage, them and say hey the road is so hard but. It's so worth it and you can choose to bring Beauty out of it sometimes. It's gonna be a daily choice sometimes it's gonna be a fight but. It's worth it and so. I decided I, would write a book. Truly. I had no idea what it would take to write a book I had this grand idea that I'd sit down type for a bit and two years later there'd be a book that's. Not the case it, took four and a half years of writing and. It. Was just a really interesting. Experience. For me it was a completely. Different way to, recount. Everything. I'd been through but. Also to hear the stories of my family, and that, maybe is the moment that healed me the most in writing is that, for so long people have focused on me and my, story because I was the one who was injured but. Our whole family, was injured, the, impacts, of Columbine and the year before Columbine. Trickled. Throughout my whole family and so, to hear my sibling stories and to focus on my parents, story and their perspectives, brought, me a lot of healing and our unity, as a family, and how we'd really survived, and we. Didn't just survive we were thriving, and. We. Look back and realized. That each event kind of led to preparation for the next we. Handled, Columbine, so well as a family because, the year before was. So hard. My. Parents were just trying to keep me alive. But. It made me and my, parents and siblings, realize. Yes. You can survive and you can thrive again we. Thrived after the suicide here, and we can thrive again after Columbine it's, worth the, fight. I'm, sorry so here's my siblings who were so gracious to put their stories, into this book and. Just. Be vulnerable, again. For other people who are going through hard things and, what it looks like from the outside as, a family member looking in and I'm just so grateful for each of them and who.
They've Been. To me and how they've encouraged, me in owning. My story and encouraging. Me to share. We. Have a life full of love for sure and here's. The whole thing Emily and I think the picture of this and the smiles on everybody's, faces really show man. We've been through a lot, but. That's not what our focus is our focus, is on life and our focus is on choosing hope and encouragement, and. You. Know living out our stories, in a way that brings purpose, and healing, to other people as well. So. I've had two realizations. That I want to point out in all of this one. My kids are really cute. I've. Seen I think so. They're. 11 nine six and two not. Two he's 511, nine. Six and five I think. I wish he was still too it's. Going so fast. Okay. So two realizations. As. I was raising these kids and thinking, about sending them off to school I thought I'm just gonna homeschool them then, they. Can never get shot at school not. Even an opportunity. But. That's not the right reason for choosing to. Home-school for. Me and. I. Realized, I'm. Making. Decisions for their childhood, based on my fear and that's. Not the reason I should be choosing things for my children I shouldn't be making choices out of fear and impacting. Their childhood, because of experiences that I'd been through and. It. Came to me after. The Sandy Hook shooting, I got. In a really. Bad place after that, a. Fear. For, my own kids. But. I realized. The. Boys who did this to me we're still controlling my life and there's a point before, the Columbine shooting that they made a video, and. In that video they're looking in the camera as if, they're looking right into my eyes saying. We're gonna haunt your nightmares forever, I can. Still see it and they. Were they. Were doing exactly that, 13. 15. Years after the shooting they were still controlling, my life with. That fear and that intention to haunt my life forever these, are for kids they never wanted me to have and. I. Was. Done with it I was, done with giving them control and I wanted to live the life. I wanted to live with, the. Kids they. Never wanted me to have and. I. Realized. What do I want to do with all this I want. To send my kids out into the world knowing. That when, they face hard things they, can overcome it there's, hope in it there's beauty, from it it's, gonna be hard every, child is gonna go through some hard things I don't really want them to I have. No idea what their life brings in front of them but, I want to prepare them and be that example for them that you, can thrive it's, okay you can fight hard there's gonna be hard days some. Days you're gonna struggle but, it's an opportunity to grow more and to heal on a deeper level and to.
Choose How, you want to use the things that other people do to you in your life going forward not giving, the, evil intentions control, and. The. Other part about, realization. That I had is that. Anyone. Can find beauty in the, ashes, and, we. Hear these stories even recently, here in Denver about, these. Shootings that happen and. This. Last one. What's. So amazing to me is that. I know the name of the hero I don't. Even know the name of the shooter I. We're. Focusing, now on the heroic, stories, and that's where the focus should be because. That's the beauty that's coming out of these things, and the, beauty that's. Gonna spread, hope, of the goodness of people and the goodness of human nature that, encourages, other people to live their lives with purpose and with, love that trickles out into the community. Sometimes. It's a fight to. Choose the hope because, it's really hard in different, areas. Of grief but. It's so worth it and, even. When it's a daily choice choosing, hope over. Tragedy. Or grief. Will. Always bring, much more purpose, and meaning to the life going forward and that is. My story thank. You for having me. The. Question raise your hand and I'll run the mic I. Love. Questions. Hi. Can, you hear me okay yeah, okay I can't tell if this is on um, thank, you for being here and for being so brave and to your family as well we. Are so lucky. To have you here my. Question to you is, it. Seems like with, the. Coverage of shootings now a lot of it has become kind of normalized, like, the conversation, has been this, just, happens, this is a part of life and even, children are starting to think about how they. Might sacrifice themselves as, that boy did in, Highlands, Ranch and. What. Is your response to that like, to, this idea that this is normal, and that children are internalizing, that very I'm preparing for that very early on. But. The idea that this is normal is heartbreaking. When. Columbine, happened it was so. On. I. Nobody. Was prepared for something like that right, it rocked the nation it, was in the news for years that combine happened we. Had support, for, a long time. It's. One of those moments where people remember, where they were when Columbine, happened and, now. These stories come out there. In the news maybe for a day and the. News moves on but, these families, I, mean. Our family knows and I know. How. Life-shattering, these events are and. Just. Because the world moves on doesn't, mean that these people who are impacted are, able to move on and there's not the same support, and it's a lonely road you'll. See that's why many of us from Columbine.
Want. To welcome, these people with open arms to this club that nobody signs up for because, we know what. It's like and we didn't have people to relate to and that was a little bit lonely. And. Isolating, so we want, to make ourselves available to. Encourage, these people through, this hard road that, everybody. Else has moved on from but, their life has taken, a complete change in direction we, want to help them along the path. Thank. You. Crying. But. How. Do you teach those children resilience. And it's not like this just. Coming from what she just said I have, a six-year-old and, I'm terrified, because. It's so normal and it's so real, and this, piece, of hopelessness, that I don't want to eat in, her life, because, it's not fair at her age to. Teach her to be afraid, of, what I think is a. Reality. Um. Yeah. I mean it's something to cry about, it just, is so. That's. Something we've really struggled, with his parents with our own kids and telling. Them my. Story. Because. We. Don't want them to know the realities, of this world we don't want them to know what mommy went through and that's that, those things are even possible. So. We're we're very careful with how we package. My. Personal, story to. Each of our kids individually, based on their personality, and their heart. And how they respond to life. I think. We're. Hoping, that the. Example, we set as parents, to them teaches. Them the resilience, and. We. We, have this thing in our house called love buckets that's, what we call our hearts as our love buckets, and. I, know the. Fear that you feel because I have felt it and it's. A struggle to not, go. To that place of fear. But. I've realized what can I control as a parent and what. I can control is the time that I have with my kids and what. I'm filling their minds and their hearts with so. Our kids don't watch the news we're, really careful about TV, we're, very intentional about together time and. My. Goal every morning before my kids leave the house is to fill their love bucket, knowing. That when our love buckets are full that's, what's spilling, over and people around us. And it. Doesn't have to be just to school shooting what if it's a car accident, what. If it's an, accident. Playing on the playground, I don't, I can't control those things but what. I fill my kids with before they leave my house is what I can control and letting. Them know for. Me that. Hand that was on my back in the library is fully. Available for, each of my children. Was. That. Does anybody else have questions. I think. A lot of people that suffer, traumatic. Experience, as a child, as, we grow up we get a lot of the anger. Because. Of what happened how did you dealt with it or how did, you like. Was able to kind of clear it. I, haven't. Dealt with anger a lot, it. Kind of comes and goes with certain circumstances. Like when I lost my job as a nurse and, I couldn't pursue my passion, I made, me mad when. I'm, facing, surgeries, and unable to hold, my kids when, I'm living in constant pain it makes me mad this, wasn't something I brought onto myself. But. Anger is so. Toxic to our life and choosing. To stay in that state of anger only hurts. Us what's. It gonna do for me or to. Them for, me to be mad at them for what, they did to me it's, not productive in my life and, I. Think, my. Faith has, helped me, find. A purpose in what I've been through which, helps keep, the anger at bay but. Also the daily choice to not mire in that anger and to. Choose something greater or, something, better and more productive for my. Heart in my mind and my life. To. Prevent, students. From getting. To a place where they. Committees. That's a hard question right. I, think. It goes back to the heart of humanity, and, the. Value. Of life and the. I. Mean. You can get a thousand, opinions about this and it's just mine. When. You you're. Responsible, for the way you feel and. The. Way you, act out on how you're feeling, but a lot of that is taught to our kids or not, taught I mean, I've got one daughter who, acts. Out irrationally, every time she feels anything. The. Greatest feeling or the worst feeling, and how, we rein that in and teach her an. Appropriate. Way to. Convey those emotions, or those feelings, of whether. It's anger or excitement or, frustration, that she feels, at. This stage of our life that's, something we're wanting to teach her going, forward how to cope, when. It's appropriate, and that what. We're feeling is not to be put on somebody else it's ours to, handle and. Then. You. Know whether, it's recover from or find, healthy. Ways to incorporate. Into our life I, just. Think that's a part of it I don't. Know how to prevent. People. Ask me questions about that and I feel like I'm not an expert because I survived, a school shooting I don't know I don't.
Know Why they chose to do this to me or why, these kids keep choosing, one. Thing I love is like, I said focusing, on the heroism and the good stories, and not, giving, these people who are doing this any, amount, of attention the. Negative, attention that they're craving. But. Putting out the positive focus and the positive attention. Yeah. Yeah. So. Writing. The book like I said was really difficult I wasn't, a writer before. And. The. Timing of the book I think is important, I could. Not have written a book five. Years after Columbine when people told, me I should write a book I don't, know what I would have said here's. All bad things that happened to me I have, a great read I don't, I I. On. A side note my daughter asked, me. Is. High school fun I. Tell. Her go ask your dad I don't know why you're talking to me about his high school fun because I am the wrong person to talk to but. That's kind of how it would have felt writing a book five years after I had no perspective I had no, opportunity. I. Took, 13, to 15 years for me to heal enough and. Learn. How to use. The, circumstances. Of my life in a positive way going forward I would, have had nothing to offer five years ago or five, years after so, it really took that time and and starting, to open up and share my story which. Was scary to me because I'm a very private person in, nature but as I got in front of crowds and shared and realized, people were inspired and encouraged. By the. Journey not. Really even anything, I did but. The journey and perspective, of somebody that many years out from. An incident, that's, why I decided to share the book and that was the point of sharing the book is. That I don't I don't want it to be about me but. I have this story and if this story impacts, one life of another victim or, somebody. Else who's struggling with suicide, or any kind of grief or trauma then it's worth it that's. What I want, my, story from Columbine to be which, is complete opposite, of what those boys wanted for my life. I think. That. Was. Like a week ago um, you. Feel helpless and you, don't know like, how, to help I think, we are all unlike a really, people. In this room that like work at the company we are we we have. Skills. That we can learn but we don't know like how to plug in so, for. People who aren't involved or know that they're Dems directly, like what's. The recommendation, of how to help. Well. I know one thing for us that was really encouraging, is. We. Got thousands. Of gifts. And cards. Just. Little notes written. To us to encourage us and let us know we're thinking about you my parents still have a room in their house dedicated. To all the boxes. Of things that people sent from around the world when, you're not directly. Associated. With the family it's. Hard to jump in even, though we. Want to we want to help. The. Community in Highlands Ranch I've been in contact with them, they. Are surrounding, these families, and doing wonderful things for them but on the outside, it's. Spreading the messages, of hope and and honoring, the lives of kids. Like Kendrick, who gave up his, life to save other people and just, spreading those sherry spreading. Those sharings, spreading. Sharing. Those stories of, encouragement, and, I. Mean. There are it, depends, on the circumstance, there are times when they've got set up certain. Ways. To help or community, events. That gathered things. For people. But. It's really about what can you do in your community, to, spread, encouragement. And. Gifts. And cards are always helpful - I mean it's really fun for us to go back even, now 20 years later and read through some of the cards that people sent and just from around the world that didn't even know us but to know that, that. They. Thought about us and they or they prayed for us and, even if your, card isn't read right now it could be something that's hugely helpful in six months, when nobody in the media is paying any attention to these kids or these family, and they're. Feeling completely isolated, and alone to know all. Right there's still people rooting, us on you, know. Welcome. Thank. You for having me. You.