MARYSVILLE — Four months after the deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, students and community members came together Tuesday night at an interfaith prayer service to try to help in the healing process.
Many say it’s hard to believe how much time has passed.
“At times it feels like it happened yesterday,” says Emily Gregg, a sophomore. “But also at times, it feels like it happened so long ago.”
On Oct. 24, freshman student Jaylen Fryberg, 15, shot five other students at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, fatally wounding four, before killing himself.
Students and teachers say at first it was hard to return to the place where tragedy had struck.
“I wanted to be with my family,” Gregg says. “But then I realized this is my family, my second family.”
“I found it was very healing to come back,” says teacher Will Hill. “I needed to come back, I needed to see the students.”
But some students say they’re still struggling with the loss of their friends.
“You don't know how to handle it. Everyone processes things differently,” says Alisha Purdom, a junior. “I think now people are confused. Should I still be grieving, should I still be feeling this way?”
Community leaders say that’s why they decided to hold the interfaith service.
“I think it's about providing more opportunity to help the kids and the community and the families still deal with it and and heal from it,” says Hill.
“I think a lot of the kids need it to be acknowledged still,” adds Purdom. “Everyone I’ve talked to says I thought I was the only one still going through this.”
They know one night’s service may not heal all wounds. But they say knowing that they have each other to lean on is helping.
“I know with a lot of the students, we're so much closer, there's less drama,” says Gregg.
Purdom agrees, “We are way stronger and more united now.”
Right now no other community-wide prayer services or events are planned. But Marysville and Tulalip leaders say they’ll put something together, if there’s a need in the future. They admit they’re figuring out the healing process as they go.