MAPLEWOOD, Minn. - Missy Dodds was getting the oil changed in her Honda when she heard the news about the Sandy Hook school shootings. She cried.
It's the kind of incident that can take her back to the trauma of her own ordeal as a survivor of the Red Lake school shootings in 2005.
"Five, six, seven-year-olds, I just can't even imagine how they can possibly process all that," says Dodds, still in therapy herself after watching a 16-year-old intruder fatally shoot five of her high school students and another teacher inside Dodds' classroom.
"I just think about how scared probably the little kids where," she says about the latest mass shooting to shock the nation. "Because having been there I know how scared they were."
While grieving the dead, Dodd empathizes with the surviving students and teachers. "Right now they're in shock, I would imagine from my personal experience."
Dodds says it took a year before she fully realized what had happened to her. "And they'll be the nightmares and the guilt."
Dodds struggled for a long time with crowded public places, avoiding even the Wal-Mart store in Bemidji, where she lives. "It's hard to do daily stuff sometimes," she said.
Now a mother of three young children - including newborn twins - Dodds will never forget the faces of the parents outside the Red Lake school. "I can't imagine going through that."
Dodds says it's important that people not forget the victims and survivors in the months and years to come. "That's kind of the hardest time in the healing process is when it seems like everyone else has forgotten - and the survivors won't have forgotten."
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)