PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – The outpouring of love and support lifted the spirits of many at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.
It filled a need for the students, parents, teachers and staff.
But what happens when that support inevitably leaves? When these students return home at the end of the day?
CBS 4 News spent time Wednesday evening with the Faber family, which lives a stone’s throw from the school, to see how they’re helping their kids to deal with their challenging and overwhelming emotions.
“I just don’t think these kids are realizing how traumatized they may be,” said Jon Faber, father of two sons, Jordan and Ethan, who attend the school.
Like many families here, the Faber’s knew children who died — friends from school and their basketball league. Seeing the multitudes turn out to support returning students and teachers on Wednesday felt good and it felt right but Jon knows it won’t always be like this.
“When they smoke settles and people go back to work, that’s when kids are going to say ‘Oh, my God. Is someone going to come in here and harm me?” Faber said.
And that’s why the Faber’s are reinforcing lessons they’ve always taught their kids — to be open and honest with them about everything.
Jordan Faber is a senior. He said he’s spending a lot of time with his family and friends these days and is trying to be open about his feelings.
“I do have that mentality a little bit that I don’t speak to them all the time about this type of stuff, obviously,” he said. “I keep it more to myself and I’m working on that. I’m talking to them about it and opening up.”
The Faber’s brought in a grief counselor to spend time with their sons and they feel the boys are handling their emotions as well as can be expected.
“We’re here for them no matter they need to speak about, at any time,” said Stacey Faber, the boys’ mother.
As this return to school loomed Jordan and his mom admitted to some nerves.
“There was a moment I woke up this morning and I realized I’m going to back to school and I was a little nervous, to be honest,” Jordan said.
Stacey echoed that sentiment.
“This morning I had butterflies in my stomach,” she said. “I was up half the night watching the clock tick by.”
Stacey admit there’s no manual to follow for something like this when asked about how they plan to move forward.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’d be lying if I said I did. I feel like we’ll get through it just somehow.”
One thing motivating Jordan is being strong for the 17 victims who will never return to school.
“You feel a sense of you have to do it for them,” he said. “You have to be strong for them. For the people that passed away, the people that are injured, still recovering. So I feel like I have to carry on what they started in their lives.”
One of the things that’s getting this family through — and many others in this community — is the sense of purpose they feel in working tirelessly to prevent another school shooting. Jon Faber went to Tallahassee last week and has chaperoned some of the outings for the outspoken teens pushing gun control issues.