Is it possible to heal? Advice for La Loche from Taber, Alta.
Rev. Dale Lang lost his son in a school shooting in 1999
The northern community of La Loche, Sask., has only begun to feel the impact of the recent tragedy, but their grief resonates with a community in Alberta.
Almost 17 years ago in Taber, a student walked into a school and began shooting, killing 17-year-old Jason Lang.
Jason's father spoke on CBC's Afternoon Edition on Monday, just days after a school shooting in La Loche left the community mourning the deaths of four people.
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It is possible to heal but I also think at the same time, I have to say, you don't forget.- Rev. Dale Lang
Rev. Dale Lang said when he heard about the shooting in La Loche, he thought about the families that will be going through the "shock and horror and pain" that he experienced in 1999, when his son was shot.
"There really aren't words that could ever express that moment and how it felt. It was so empty and so black and so painful. It's something that no parent should have to face," Lang said.
"Your normal life is gone. It's going to be a new normal from that point on, whatever that will mean."
Dale Lang said his family's healing began during the memorial service for Jason, which was held at the high school where the shooting happened.
"Eventually I realized that everybody gets angry in situations like this; it's kind of a phase that you hit. You feel the injustice of the situation," he said.
"You feel like somebody should be paying for this somehow. And the question becomes, 'What are you going to do with that anger?'"
With his faith by his side, Lang decided he needed to forgive the shooter, but never forget. He said it was important to move beyond the place of anger and bitterness to let the process of healing begin.
"It is possible to heal but I also think at the same time, I have to say, you don't forget," he said. "The pain that you experienced in the one sense…. I don't think that pain ever totally leaves you."
- This story previously stated the Taber, Alta. shooting happened almost 15 years ago. It has been corrected to read almost 17 years ago.Jan 26, 2016 9:18 AM CT