This morning I woke up and literally the first thought in my mind was, it’s been a year. It’s funny, this past year I didn’t measure time in the traditional January to December, but rather October to October. I went and re-read my blog post from just days after the shooting at Route 91 and became quite emotional. I felt so much during that time and needed to find release and reality in saying the words out loud. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a tiny step into recovery from a day that changed my family’s life forever.
Jeff and I have reflected on that night and all the mistakes and missteps we took, wishing we could change certain aspects. We would’ve gone to the concert and protected our kids. I would’ve found a way to get the hell out of that room immediately and get to them before the guards came up. And the reporter, that blasted reporter. Jeff had run out of battery on his phone and she allowed us to communicate via hers. When the kids reunited with Jeff, everything happened so fast and there was an unconscious obligation to answer her questions. The kids were in shock, wild, maniac. They were not aware of much around them and now they had to answer questions, and in some instances were judged about it. And though he too was in shock, it’s one of Jeff’s biggest regrets, allowing it to happen. The flip side was that was how I knew everyone was finally together, on my knees, watching them reunite on live television. Knowing they were finally safe in his arms. For that small mercy, I’m thankful.
I’m sure there have been hundreds of thousands of people that have gone through traumatic events. No one tells you what happens next and without going into too much detail, just understand it’s not over when the headlines are. The human condition is so fascinating to me. Who asks which questions and why they ask them. Who reaches out, how awkward it is to know what to say or do or ask. Whenever terrorist events have happened in the past you think you get it. You’re a human being after all. You can think about how you would react in the same situation or try to put yourself in another’s shoes and sympathize with their struggle. Some people want to talk, some people don’t, some people can accept help, others aren’t ready. Sometimes being transported to that night and experiencing what happened, as if it were happening all over again, can happen at the most unexpected times from the most innocent sounds or triggers. I can tell you the things that have meant most to my family has been expressions of love, without wanting to know what everyone saw or questioning choices made.
All that being said, the last year has been one of healing. The kids graduating from college and beginning their lives. Charlie, Jesse, and Natalie digging into their jobs, old and new, and doing so fantastic at them. Paisley on the adventure of a lifetime as she travels through Europe before starting a job. Nicole moving to the west side and starting her new job with Heckman Inc. I could not be prouder (such a small word, for such a big feeling). Not only for their accomplishments but for their place in recovery and ability to not let it define their lives. They are all such badasses, you have no idea!
I realize this year could’ve been very different. My outlook on life could’ve been so completely altered. I’ve seen friends lose their children, I’ve felt completely ineffectual and impotent in their suffering. However, I can also see the pain of it in a way I don’t think I really saw or understood before. Of course, you can never know what someone feels in their soul and how the things that happen change the course of their lives. I just know I want to alleviate their suffering, even if for only five minutes because it could’ve so easily been my children and for a few mercifully short hours I thought it had been. So, love them…love them perfectly, even when they drive you crazy.
I think about the blessing that was upon us that day, not because we deserved it anymore or any less from anyone else that day but randomly, all my children and all of our group were spared for a reason known only unto God. In typing this I relaxed into thought and was immediately back to that small hotel room, feeling a fear and level of desperation and helplessness I have never experienced in my life. I hope with everything that I am that no reader of this would ever have to experience that level of destitution and if you have, you have a kindred spirit in me. If you can, love better without having to go through that.
For those that did lose their children, husbands, wives, family and beloved friends, for those that lost their sense of security or are still dealing with the physical issues arising from injuries that night, my most sincere and heartfelt love, thoughts, and prayers are with you today and every day. You aren’t forgotten and you are so valued and treasured by me.
God Bless You!