A Hug, That Changed My Life

Bethany - Lakewood, Colorado
Entered on November 12, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
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It was a windy afternoon around four o’clock. I went to take a hot shower and prepare an outfit for the special event that evening. After two hours of lathering myself up my favorite lotion, painting my fingernails a tickle me pink, applying more makeup than usual, and trying on outfit after outfit, I was ready. I was shaking with nervousness. I knew that this night would be unforgettable.

As my family loaded up the minivan with my dad, mom, and grandma as honored guests of mine we left to head downtown. We arrived at the Channel Center near Denver University, a beautiful yet simplistic building. We were greeted with many welcoming people who supplied me with a nametag and brought me to the stage to show me where I would be sitting. Everything was perfect. My family and located our dinner table and glanced around at the beautiful set up. The piano gently played in the background. My family and I noticed plaques at the front table. “Who am I representing Mom, who is it” I asked. She said, “Daniel Rohrbough.” And then directly behind me I felt a soft hand glide across my shoulder blade. It was Sue Petrone the mother of one of the thirteen victims who lost his life in the Columbine shooting.

Sue Petrone and her husband Rich were my families company for dinner that evening. We talked about Danny, the life he lived and how it was cut short. He was the victim who laid on the sidewalk to bleed to death. His mother explained to us his interests, hobbies, and how he looked forward to getting his driver’s permit soon. My family and I listened to his mother speak about Danny and an anger came about us. Why did this have to happen? Why did someone so innocent have to lose his life?

When the night was coming to a close and the presentation of honoring 13 students in the remembrance of the Columbine victim’s life, it was time to say goodbye. I embraced Sue and she hugged me tighter than I’ve ever been hugged before. Tears fell from my eyes. Something inside of me changed that evening. My life was going to be worth something because I not only owe it to myself but I want to make Danny and his mother proud.