Trigger Warning: We talk in detail in this episode about the Santa Fe school shooting.
Today we are honored to sit with Robin Treat. This is the first time she’s talked publicly about losing her daughter Angelique Ramirez in the Santa Fe, TX school shooting on May 18, 2018. No honorable mentions or references today; Robin’s story speaks for itself.
Robin Treat earned her Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) in Santa Fe ISD, mother of a daughter lost in the Santa Fe school shooting, and mother of a son with autism attending the same high school. She is determined to grow and better herself and use her personal and professional experience to help others. (PS She is undoubtedly the most amazing and resilient person we have ever met—and just one of our favorite people in general.)
Santa Fe Ten Memorial Foundation: https://www.sftenmemorial.org
...and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SFTenMemorial/
This show is dedicated to Angelique Ramirez and the Santa Fe Ten, and all the amazing people and organizations that have supported and continue to support the Santa Fe community.
*Mentioned in this episode: Psychology Today “When You Say Nothing At All” blog post: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-mind/202006/when-you-say-nothing-all?amp
Gill Strait PhD and Julia Strait PhD are both Licensed Psychologists (TX) and Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSPs, TX). They are alumni of The University of South Carolina School Psychology Doctoral Program (Go Gamecocks).
Gill is a teacher, researcher, and supervisor at a university graduate psychology training program.
Hey everybody. First I want to give you a trigger warning for today we are going to be talking about a school shooting in detail. So this content may not be great for listeners who might be kids in the car or anyone who is sensitive to this kind of discussion. Today we have Robin treat. Every now and then a really special student comes along, or really special person. Robin is one of those people. I knew from the moment I met her she was very special. She joined our graduate program when I was a professor at University of Houston Clear Lake, and she is one of the most determined people I have ever met. On May 18 2018, there was a horrific shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas. And her daughter Angelica Ramirez was one of the people we lost that day, along with nine other people. Today, we're not going to be joking around as much. I'm just gonna welcome you guys to listen to Robin, as she talks for the first time publicly about her daughter and her son, and how this has affected her career but also her personal life. All right. Without further ado, here's Robin. Welcome to the psychologist podcast. Today we have one of my favorite humans on the planet Robin treat. She is a licensed specialist in school psychology. That's what we call school psychologists in Texas because we need to say something different from everyone. She graduated from the University of Houston Clear Lake LSP program a few years ago, I can't believe it's been that long. We know Robin because she was our student in the program. She is currently an LSP and Santa Fe ISD in Texas. She's a mother of a beautiful daughter Angelica, who is lost in a school shooting at Santa Fe several years ago. And her son who has autism still attends the same high school. So I'm already getting choked up because this is going to be like I said Robin is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. And she's been through a lot. So I am so interested to hear her story. And just I think she has a lot to offer us. So welcome, Robin, thank you
Unknown Speaker 2:16
welcome it. And I think for for people who are listening, if you if you looked up the word resilience, there should be a picture of Robin is because I can't think of any any other person that really defines that word more than Robin. And with that. I just am going to kind of ask a really general question. Robin, can you just tell us about your story? I mean, how did you get here?
Unknown Speaker 2:48
Um, so I was born in a little bitty town in Kansas. I had single mom growing up with two other brothers and very rough core childhoods, so it was one a lot of resiliency as a kid. Um, then I met my children's father in Oklahoma. And then he was from Texas. So we moved to Texas. And I started college the same day my kids started kindergarten and preschool. And originally I was just going to be a special ed teacher, because because we have just gotten the diagnosis of autism. So yeah, they were just doing amazing things with him. And I had always been in childcare, in high school. And when I did a home daycare and all that good stuff whenever I was in Oklahoma, so I wanted to be a special ed teacher. But then the further I got into the associates, part of it, I was given an assignment, an intro to psychology. And I had to interview seven people in the field. And it couldn't be just teachers like it had to be education. And I had as well as the questions I had to ask every single person. And when I got to the school psychologist and she started answering all these questions for me again, same questions to everybody. I was like, This is the title like every goal that I had of being a sped teacher, this lady was doing. So I was like, Okay, how do I get on this path? It was a questions about your job and what you do. Yeah, like what your role is in the school. And her role was exactly the reason I wanted to be a sped teacher. So immediately got off the sped teacher train, and she became my mentor. Jay introduced me to Gail share me and she helped me because I was a single mom, you know, I didn't have any work experience. I didn't have any teaching experience. I had nothing to go on to apply for this school psychology program, but I really want wanted to, as a doctor share me guided me through my bachelor's towards what classes to take. I volunteered in the autism clinic at the college, all these different things that would look good on my resume for when I did apply. And then I got accepted. And
Unknown Speaker 5:18
yeah, who wasn't this school psych that you interviewed. And shocker. Yay. She's so wonderful shout out to miss Anne and she's is she retired now?
Unknown Speaker 5:27
She is retired. Oh, yeah. Yeah. She has mixed emotions about it. She Yeah, happy but she misses it. She misses the kids. And yeah, our community is amazing.
Unknown Speaker 5:39
So you grew up? Poor, right? You had two young kids? No, I had three kids, my step daughter, my daughter and my son by 19 by 19. And as they started entering into school, and at the same time, you're you're finding out that your son has autism, your response, as opposed to like, shutting yourself off to the world was? I'm going to go to college?
Unknown Speaker 6:09
Yeah, I'm going to fix it. How old was Amadeus when he was diagnosed? Three was like early intervention services or the school or Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 6:19
so in Oklahoma, where did happen? He literally woke up a different kids or my journey with him was the whole regression part. And he met all of his developmental milestones. He was talking, he was eating all the foods playing with his sister socializing. And literally, in a matter of less than a week later, he just woke up a different kid. He wasn't talking, he wasn't eating. He wasn't potty trained anymore. He started stemming, the biggest thing was, he would hang Mardi Gras beads on the doorknob and just sit there for hours and swing up. And then my ex husband had brought up autism and I got mad because I babysat a kid with autism. When I was 15. And I didn't understand the spectrum. I was just like, how dare you? You know, but the more research we did and talking to the pediatrician, she was like, Yeah, but you know, in Oklahoma at the time, there wasn't a lot we can do for him, you know. So when we moved to Texas, that's when I found out about PPC, D and all these other things. Oh, can you say what that is in Texas just to go in preparation preschool for children with disabilities. They've changed it in Texas this year. And now it's EC s E, which is early childhood special education. Okay, oh, is basically teaching your kids how to play school and get them ready for kindergarten. before they go that way. They're more on track with their same peers by the time they get there.
Unknown Speaker 7:47
Can I ask like that process, right? Because I feel like whenever I sit with parents, and I'm like, you know, your child has whatever it is, and especially if they're not expecting it, or what was that like to like, go through? Did you immediately go to I gotta fix it. Or like how? Yep.
Unknown Speaker 8:04
So I'm trying to figure out why this happened. What I did wrong, how I can fix it, how I can reverse it. I wasn't getting a lot of good feedback. You should have read that Jenny McCarthy book. You know, I jumped on the train for a cool minute. Texas, I was definitely on a Jenny McCarthy train. But then once I got into college, and started like learning, like, how to research like real like it apparently base research base, like, not just Wikipedia, whatever, like really learning how to research and trust what I'm reading. Yeah, I jumped off. Oh, you're making our little research teacher hearts flare like yay, that's. Yeah, so I learned where to go to get my information. So that that definitely helped a lot.
Unknown Speaker 8:54
Yeah. If you're really good at planning, I mean, you were in undergrad, when you decided that you were going to go on the school psychology track. And originally You said you were thinking about special ed. And then you interviewed a school psychologist, you know, this is it. And then you may you started making the connections to find that and you followed through. Which is kind of I mean, this is where we met. Right? Because Because we we met while you were in grad school, you'd already been in the program for a year and, and you had hardships along the way.
Unknown Speaker 9:28
I entered the program, August of 2015. And then I decided to end my marriage 15 years that same month.
Unknown Speaker 9:38
uhcl School Psychology specialists, right? Just again, for the three people who don't already know us we're gonna listen to
Unknown Speaker 9:45
my associates got through my bachelor's and by the time I got to the specialist degree, it was just time it was the healthiest decision for all of us. My kids mainly, so yeah, started that ugly process. I'm definitely affected my schoolwork. But I had amazing professors who worked with me and kept encouraging me and motivating me. And they, you know, they kept telling me as long as you keep us in the loop, like, we're gonna help you out. And I graduated a year late, do too many things, you know, it was the divorce and then after that my brother passed away five months later, the school shooting happened with Angelica. Five months after that my fiance died. So there was a setback after setback after setback, but I was determined, like, this was my dream job. And I was not. I wasn't gonna stop. Like I knew that I could help kids in Amadeus a situation and other kids with special needs. But then as my daughter got into high school, and I started seeing the whole mental health aspect of it, I was really glad that as a school psychologist, I could touch that, too. Yeah, I had the best of both worlds being able to help children, like my daughter who were suffering, and then help children with special needs. So it was win win for me. So there was no way I was going to give that up. especially knowing that I wanted to be in Santa Fe. After everything happened. I knew I needed to graduate and just get back to be with my people again.
Unknown Speaker 11:23
So Robin, you make it into grad school. Even you set this plan, and undergrad, you get there. Now you're in grad school. And then hardships are still happening. I mean, in your first month of grad school, you mentioned you that's when you decided you needed a divorce and you needed to separate from your husband, which is which is a tough thing. I think you lost some loved ones prior to the school shooting as well up to that. Now, you are pretty far along in the program. The Can you tell us a bow for the day?
Unknown Speaker 12:02
Yeah. Um, so I had a week prior finished practicum. And then we were on our short break before summer Smith. And I had taken Angeles to school. I had taken all my days to school. And then I got back home. And I got several phone calls in the morning time. Like I'm just not a morning person. So I wasn't answering the phone, right? I'm like, it was because these are my friends. You know now Yeah, the drama kids, I have come back home. I'm about to get ready for the day. So my phone just keeps going. And it was the same people repeatedly to answer the phone. And first words out of her mouth, she's like Angela has been shot. And I'm like, you've got to like be mistaken. Because two months prior, we had a false alarm. And two weeks before that, we had another false alarm. And so the whole time I was talking, you know, we were texting back and forth the whole time she was on lockdown. And easily kind of text me Sorry, I was just like your mistake and you heard something wrong. You know, that's just not possible. So then I got another phone call from somebody I know to take very serious and they're really, you need to get out of high school. There is a real shooting. And like, have you heard anything about Angelica? Like I haven't heard anything about Angelica but I do know that there's a shooting going on right now. Devin the car, drive over there. Um, I mean, I'm running through barricades, like in my car, like I pushed through everything, like I'm just leaning on the horn, you know, and I know it's real because there's like all the our whole town is in front of this high school by the FBI, SWAT everything. And I'm adamant I'm going to get in that high school parking lot. And literally like wrecking my car into these barricades to kid. Finally a sheriff like stopped in front of me like t bone style. And he was like, You can't go on like my daughter was shot like I need to get in there. So they put me in their car. And then they took me over to the high school. And we're going around to all the paramedics and all the ambulances, all the police and they're like, we don't know names of anybody. If they had blood on them. We just throw them in an ambulance and send them to a hospital. We don't know what hospitals. There's a five or six hospitals from Galveston to Houston that had all of our kids. So I had family working in the medical fields and so they were doing a bunch of calling and bouncing around to the different hospitals. My ex husband and his friend were going around to different hospitals because his wife worked at one of the hospitals. I went to the re united place in our district where they reunite families if something like this has to happen and From then on, I was just in this building for the rest of the day, didn't have cell phone service. And people were coming in and checking on is we had a bunch of therapists there from innovative alternatives. region for a lot of people came, sat with us supported us. Oh, my work family from Santa Fe was there. But her I had check her on her phone. And her phone wasn't moving. And so about three o'clock that day, we got confirmation that there were actually deceased people and this whole they still couldn't tell us who. And then they have police officers come and make us give descriptions of our kids and tell them if they had a state ID or not, because that most of them that was how they were gonna have to identify it was by fingerprint. And I'm so past seven o'clock that night, the sheriff finally came in and put all the families in a different room and confirmed, you know that it was them. So it was 12 hours of
Unknown Speaker 16:18
Unknown Speaker 16:21
But they did amazing. Santa Fe did so good. Thank you, my son. He was at the junior high. And I didn't want him to know what was going on. Especially because we couldn't find ninja league. And so his behavior teacher kept him and like, just played a bunch of games with him. Like he didn't know anything. He just thought he earned a free day, and was just totally excited. Like they bought a pizza, or McDonald's. They bought all his favorite foods, you know. And then here as the bus home, and his bus driver even made sure that you know, nobody talked about it. And my mother in law met him. So I don't talk to my family back to my horrible childhood. I don't talk to any blood relatives. The family I call family is either friends, or my ex husband's family. And so when I say my mom and dad, it's my ex husband's step mom and dad, but they've been my parents since I was 17. And that never changed. We still have that bond. So grandma came to pick him up when the bus dropped him off, and he was super excited. Like, this is best day ever for him. You know, he got spoiled at school. Grandma's picking him up, grandma took him to go get all kinds of stuff. And, um, and then after I found out I went over there, and I think that was the hardest part for me, was telling him on the day, it's because he doesn't cry in the screen that he left out. He's never done. And I'll never forget that, that that scream hurt, bad. Um, but that baby has taught me so much like he's the most resilient person I've ever met in my life. Because he was just like, after he stopped crying, he just was like, mom, she's in heaven. Like, we'll see it again. You know, that's what I taught him. Like, okay, you know, and so he's definitely my street. He's definitely what gets me through. Because I can't be like this in front of him. Wait ages? Yeah, he's like, Mom, that's not the routine. Like, right. We see them again, like stick to the routine. Stop it. Yeah, his piece definitely gives me peace.
Unknown Speaker 18:39
I want to take a quick pause here to just offer a moment of silence for the Santa Fe 10. And allow us all to kind of catch our breath and get it together after that quite emotional story. hang with me. We're gonna have a moment of silence with remember those students and teachers. Alright, thanks guys. Back to it.
Unknown Speaker 20:08
I've gotten really good at scheduled meltdowns, their therapists that I saw. After the fact had, that was the only advice she could really give me. She's like, you know, this is for me, how are three therapists, you know, and they're like, I can keep taking your money and be your sounding board. But it sounds, you have an amazing support system. But I think what I took away from therapy after that was the plant meltdown. And so that also helps me with my anxiety, because if I know, like, on Saturday, like I'm gonna have this time, then I can get through those short moments. You know, during the week, when I was like, I could feel the panic or the sadness or whatever coming on, I'm just like, I can just breathe and really, Saturday, you know, or I can realize within myself that I need to plant one, like a release valve, like, every week, like, okay, okay, yeah. And they're getting further apart, the longer it's like, I don't have to have them as often. The surprise, meltdowns aren't happening as often anymore. They still, like, of course, some days, you know, I can see her name all over the town, and it's fine. And other days, like, I just have to go home. Because it's just not my
Unknown Speaker 21:32
it. The the plan meltdowns is something I've I don't know that I've heard of that. But it makes so much sense to kind of give that that guidance. But just as you were telling your story a we're all like bawling right now. So but I, I know, a few months after, after Julia wrote like a blog post on Psychology Today about sometimes they're just no words. And as someone who likes to talk a lot and would love likes to give instrumental support, and, and effective support when I can, but she's, I think she's right in that, that I don't like, I don't know that there's anything that can make that, that someone can say that makes it better. Other other other than, other than like this, when I hear it just and I look at you, I just see so much strength, and radiance. Like, I mean, you're sitting, you're in a school right now in the same district, in the same district. And you get back to back to those goals that you had, which again, I don't know. I mean, that doesn't fix it.
Unknown Speaker 23:03
I remember when we called you a few months later, and I think I said something like, hey, like we're working on something and try to get, I don't know, something behind the administrative stuff with school and like, we got to worry about it. And we were like, but before we do all this administrative stuff, are you gonna come back? Do you want to come back? And she was just like, so fast? Like, yes, of course, why wouldn't like of course, it's not like this unhealthy, like, I'm gonna ignore it and pretend it didn't happen. It was like, because this happened, like, this makes me like you said even more wanted, like mental health. And you know, I can touch all these things, autism, mental health, I can help this community, which I think for a while you're thinking about moving away. And then
Unknown Speaker 23:44
so summer school was coming up, like two or three weeks later, um, and I knew I was going back. Like you say, it wasn't your void in it. It is really solidified that I was on the path that I was supposed to be on. You know, it started because of my son. But by the closer it got to me graduating, it turned into this completely different platform, you know, and it wasn't something. I mean, I wouldn't have been in school psychology in school psychology already. After that happened. I know me, I would have probably switch paths again, you know, to figure out like, how did that not happen again, you know, so if it wouldn't have been in the same category, I really think I probably could switch majors. But um, no going back help pushing me in not even really pushing me but encouraging me like I remember that phone call when you call me. And I was like, absolutely. I'm coming back. You're like I told them she was coming. I was like, is like there the waiting is not an option for me. Quitting has never been an option. Having you all there and just support me and you know, I could come and ugly, cried looking, as you know, ever and y'all are just gonna act like I didn't look a hot mess, we're just gonna talk, we're just gonna like this woman's eyes cuz they're so puffy. Like she's here, you know, she's here. And then I remember we had a panel, that came one class, and that was the class that Julia showed up. And it was just, just to see me, you know, and that meant more to me than anything, she had no reason to be in that class other than just to check on me. And that meant so much. And it couldn't have come at a better time, because that was the worst class ever. That turned out to be terrible. Like that, that totally went off, springs on to the Santa Fe high school shooting, and it was too much, you know, and I remember looking at you, and you just pointed to the door, and you got me out of there so fast, and I just crumbled, you know, and you didn't say anything. And that was the best thing that you could have done was to just not saying anything. Because what I have learned, and they might just be me, you know, because everybody deals with things differently. But when people tell me everything happens for a reason, or she's where she's supposed to be, or is in a better place, you know, or I don't know how you do it, or I think the one that pisses me off the most is I understand, I know, you don't know, you don't, even if you have a daughter that you lost in the school, you know, like, you didn't have that bond, that means Angelica, you don't have our story, you don't know what I was. Um, same thing with all my days, you know, I, as a parent, I try really, really hard to keep my LSP hat on, and take my parent off whenever I'm talking to these parents like, because I will never tell them I understand. I'll tell them my experience. But I will never tell them that I understand. Because I don't understand their autism journey with every child. Every kid with autism is different. And everybody that loses a child, it's different. And so I will never tell anybody that's lost a child, like I understand, you know, because I'm also I don't, you know, but I think that's the one that gets under my nerves the most is, you know, I understand. Now you don't, like you just don't, yeah, um, but yeah, just the, I don't know, what did help was the encouragement to just like, keep going forward, you know, to allow me to grieve. And whenever we, I needed to grieve at whatever moment I needed to grieve, take a breath, and then just move on, you know, and that literally was the best thing that happened, I just kept pushing forward, I just kept striving for my goals, which you know, that that was really the only good thing I had going on at the time, you know, was, you know, I'm doing good things, and there's gonna be a really good end result. This is just a tough moment, you know.
Unknown Speaker 28:10
But another thing that gets on my nerves is when they grew opinions, and so when they say the parents of the Santa Fe 10, believes that it added benefits. Oh, yeah, no, I do not like that at all. And I've actually written several of the authors of these articles that have done this, I'm like, you did not speak to me, I refuse to speak to you, you cannot sit there and say, every single parent feels this way. Because number one, I work for the district. And so my opinion is completely different than every single one of these other parents, you know, and that, that, that bothers me a lot, because I have a very positive opinion and love for Santa Fe. And my, when they group us together like that. It really bothers me, because that is definitely not my opinion, you know, so
Unknown Speaker 29:06
is it like when they say like, the parents are unhappy with how it was handled and things like, yeah, and like,
Unknown Speaker 29:12
court and trial and everything, all that mess. There's like, the parents feel this way. And I'm like, now Actually, no, let's do.
Unknown Speaker 29:21
Yeah, we have a really, like, different role and important role of kind of, you're both So, man. I remember people telling me like, oh, that that shooting did it and like, not knowing that we knew, you know, and just like as a professional asking me about it, and I, I could, I was like, I don't know, I don't know, it wasn't there. I can't evaluate like, it seems like, it seems like they actually did a pretty good job like, because people say, Oh, why don't schools have plans for this? And it's so frustrating as an LSP. To be like they do we literally take like so many classes on this. They have a crisis plan. They evacuated people like they did what they could, nobody knows how they're gonna react in that situation. And it was very fun. Sure to hear people say, well, they should have done something like, I was like, Oh, my God, like Robin and their entire staff, I guarantee you, like everybody is doing stuff like that we are doing things that you can't just shake your head and say, oh, that should, that's terrible, we should do something. But like, trust me, there is a system in place. Like, there's a lot of work that goes into that, as you know. So it's really frustrating when people kind of say like, and again, I think they mean, well,
Unknown Speaker 30:24
like, yeah, and before I removed myself from several like, talk of Santa Fe 's, and like all these, like, community groups, right? Somebody had done that. And they were complaining about Santa Fe not having a plan in place, and not training subs, and this and that, the other. I got on there. And I fact checked, like, I was like, Fact number one, I was a substitute from 2015 to 2018. I went through the training, I know exactly where the crisis folder is, I know exactly what we were supposed to do during that time. My children have been there since 2008. And monthly they practice those drills. So no, you cannot sit there and say that we did not have a plan. And we did not put it in effect. Because that has been ongoing since 2008. I was a sub i got trained. I love the fact checking.
Unknown Speaker 31:15
I love your research skills, you're like no facts, empirical. Awesome. number one. Number two, your Crusader of facts. I love it.
Unknown Speaker 31:26
You know, and I think a lot of people who are on that other side of the argument, it's because what they hear it's, I think it's the most terrible. I mean, it's the scariest thing I can imagine. The worst thing happened to you, Robin, I mean, like I I can't think of anything worse, honestly. And, and I think a lot of people, they have a defense mechanism, right? And it comes up, they don't realize it, but they if they allow the thought of Oh, this could happen to me, then it's too hard from blaming the school from just completely denying these things happen on social media. And to me, I think it's an underlying fear that people naturally have, and then they're trying to mask it.
Unknown Speaker 32:20
Well, and then you know, you talk about the approximation from the tragedy, you know, and how it affects you. And as you know, I work in all three elementary schools in the junior high. Nobody knows children wise, student wise. That angelic was my daughter, they know what happened. They don't know. She's my daughter, and I don't have like in my office, I have rainbows everywhere. But I don't have her picture. I don't have on the days this picture. And you
Unknown Speaker 32:52
tell us about the rainbows, because I know there's some symbolism there.
Unknown Speaker 32:55
So Angelica always said that when he asked her what her favorite color was, she was a rainbow and black because it included all the colors. And she also believed in gender equality, and all of all of that good stuff. She was very active in the LGBTQ community. Like she had so many friends, like she supported all of them. She was navigating herself, you know, her whole, you know, lifestyle, and, you know, we supported her through all of that. But her her room and everything that she was into when I lost her was all rainbows and black, like everything was rainbows and black. And so I've just kind of, that's how I represent her. And also there was like so many Rainbows, after, you know, she passed and still like I have a whole album on Facebook, of Rainbows, you know, in on her headstone, it says my rainbow after the storm, you know. So it's just rainbows are very, like, that's like her sign or for a week to me, you know? So but yeah, so I have like all these rainbows and everything like that is because I don't want to instill that fear in those kids like, oh mistreats daughter died in the school shooting that happened. That could happen to me. You know, I don't I don't want that fear in them. Because by the time they get to the high school, like, besides the memorial being out there, you know, it's not going to be such a pressing topic, because Angeles class just graduated. And so that was the last class that was there when that happened. And so now it literally is just a memory. And they're going to do lots of things every year, you know, to honor them and they've decided like for their birthdays, every year so like frangelico birthday, they're going to have like a bouquet of rainbow roses out like at the high school and just they're going to continue to remember them. But the age group that I work with, I just I don't want to instill Fear of it happening, because it happened to me.
Unknown Speaker 35:04
Right. And that perception and feeling that you're in a safe school for the For Kids that they're safe is extremely important. And we know that from research. I mean, that's, oftentimes, when we look at school climate, that's one of that's one of the big factors of Do you feel safe there. And as parents, we want to also feel that our kids are safe there. To send them and I like, I know, that has to be a struggle. I don't know, I would assume, personally, like I can you tell us about like how you've been able to manage, like going back and into schools having a day, it's back in the schools.
Unknown Speaker 35:45
That that was. So some of the things that I've had to deal with, since losing Angelica that I struggled with was when Ahmed has turned 15 because he's like, was 15 when I lost her. So like that whole year that he was 15 I was just some pins and needles, you know, it was just like, I don't know why I can't explain it, you know, but just 15 was a trigger for me. I was just like, I just wanted to hurry up and get through his 15th year, you know, when he started high school that I was, I was a mess. I was a huge mess, because I knew he was gonna, you know, he had been a junior high, two years before he went to the high school. And whenever, after everything happened, and I knew like he would pass the art room he would pass like all these things that they have set up to remember, you know, everybody, and, you know, I was more stressed out for him and worried for him than he was, you know, again, autism and routine. He's like, Mom, I'm going to I asked him, do you want to go to high school? Or do you want to go somewhere else? I was totally going to give him the option. You want to homeschool? You know, what do you want to do? He's like, I'm in ninth grade. I'm going to Santa Fe High School.
Unknown Speaker 37:02
Yeah, he's bringing home the whole time. Right. He's like, probably looked forward to going to that high school and seen it by
Unknown Speaker 37:08
this since kindergarten. That's what we do. We go to elementary, junior. Well, and then he's gonna go to college. But yeah, I mean, for him. He was just, it was kind of almost like the question if I'm gonna come back holidays, like, of course, I'm going to the highest school. What are you talking about, you know, um, and he's phenomenal. Like, he's, he's smashed it like he's done so good. Like, there is not been any kind of meltdown about his sister. There's been no triggers. There's he's just going in and doing the schoolwork can be in the amazing kid that he is with his personality and is rocking it out. Now. He started up in my face, and he's gonna be a junior and oh my gosh, I can't believe he has like facial hair. And he's like a man. And it's unbelievable. Oh, yeah, he started a job. So he's in Santa Fe. Now we have a program called seal as their Texas Workforce. And so they help special needs kids get job skills. And so it starts at 16 goes all the way 21. And so he is going to be working in our print shop this summer, and the administration building, and I get to be a job coach. So that's awesome.
Unknown Speaker 38:22
Did you say he was like you told me the other day, he was kind of nervous until you were like, well, I'm going to be your boss. Yeah. Yeah, that's familiar.
Unknown Speaker 38:30
Most kids like my mom. And he's like, Okay, my mom's gonna be. But also the lady that it'll be working with was his third through fifth grade technology. So he has a relationship with the ages, they go above and beyond what their sped kids. I was sold on their sped program and I just I wanted to be in it so bad. You've always
Unknown Speaker 38:52
said, you know, with him even I mean, before and after all these things happen. I think you've always spoken very highly of the way that his teachers have helped him and just how amazing they've been with him and how he loves it there. And he's really thriving. Absolutely.
Unknown Speaker 39:08
So Robin, you mentioned some of the things that are maybe unhelpful that people can do when when they're like talking to someone who's experienced tragedy or loss of a loved one. What are some things that are helpful? A I mean, we all will experience loss, and we all will have someone that we care about experience loss at some point and I know like majority of people want to help and as you mentioned sometimes in that want to help we say the wrong thing or we say something that maybe doesn't land right. Are there things you can think of or things that you found that were helpful? Like your list of knows the list of phone calls is good?
Unknown Speaker 39:50
What did help was out like the people closest to me, they they can deal with like the awkward part, you know But I think, for the people that like weren't close that wanted to do something, um, what was most helpful? There's no, I can't leave any other words to say it by like, pretending it didn't happen. So, like, inviting me out to lunch, and why am I favorite spot, you know, just going eating lunch, having a couple of drinks, and not bringing it up. You know, like, if I bring it up fine, you know, we'll talk about it. But talking about Angelica, you know, without bringing up the shooting, you know, like, just going out to eat and just having like, regular lunch, you know, going and doing things, you know, and just like, your everyday normal things, you know, and not being awkward about it, as horrible as it sounds, you know, pretending it didn't happen, you know, just like, it's a distraction, but it's a positive distraction. And it's also getting you back into your everyday life. And not like being this hermit in night. Like, even if you do, like, keep your feelings and like things inside, in that moment, it's still a breath of fresh air. It's nice, you know, to get out and just like, go do something normal, you know, and then like, I might come back and have a meltdown, you know, or call somebody or whatever, I guess, kind of letting me lead it, you know, but like going on with our everyday lives, you know, and then if it comes up, it comes up. But also, if you have a burning question, like I definitely don't, you know, like, not ask me, I would rather you get my answer versus your own assumption or an answer from somebody else. I think just, you know, just being there, how you were before it happened.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai