SANTA FE, Texas (FOX 26) - Parents of Santa Fe High School students seem to be searching for ways to help their children cope after the tragic shooting on Friday that ended with ten people killed and 13 others injured. Children in Santa Fe have been coming together to remember their classmates by doing things like leaving flowers and balloons at public memorials, which are not only a way for the students to pay their respects, but also serves as a form of therapy.
“We’re just taking it day by day,” explains Brittany Campbell, who says her son Nicholas is suffering a lot since the deadly shooting at his school.
“He’s not as lively as he was," adds Brittany. "He stays to himself a lot more."
Nicholas now describes life in three sad words: “Difficult, depressing, scary.”
16-year-old Nicholas is not alone. A number of Santa Fe High School students have now witnessed what some military veterans don’t. They have watched friends as they were shot to death and they know surviving the shooting was just the beginning of what could be a lifetime of healing.
"They’re crying with each other," explains Tony Dickey, a chaplain who came from Alabama to volunteer at Santa Fe High School. "They’re talking with each other. They’re holding each other and that’s part of the healing that they need to be doing.”
Dickey is praying with and helping give strength to the students at a time when they certainly need it.
"They can’t eat, they can’t sleep and well, it’s going to take a long time to heal,” says Walli Ekstrom whose granddaughter attends the high school.
The chaplain is not only at Santa Fe High School to help encourage. He’s also completely honest with the students.
"I wish I could tell you this memory will go away, but you will remember this the rest of your life," adds Dickey. "You will grieve. A year from now, it will be like it was yesterday. Ten years from now, it will be like it was yesterday."
"I get emotional talking about it," says the chaplain with tears in his eyes, who experienced grief first-hand. "I lost a son and that was 31 years ago, but to me it was yesterday.”
Nicholas returned to Santa Fe campus on Tuesday to retrieve his belongings. That’s his first time back in the building since the deadly shooting on Friday.
"It was pretty hard," says Nicholas. "It’s scary going through the hallway knowing some random person could just open fire on innocent people. I’m glad I still have friends that are there for me and that I can talk to and I’m glad they are still alive.”