October 1st had also been really fun. We spent the day at Top Golf, swimming and watching football, hanging out with the kids and customers. The kids left to get ready for the concert, and we stayed behind to watch the last football game. Jeff and I talked about going into the concert that last night, but we had to leave early the next morning, and I needed to get everyone packed up. We stayed at Mandalay Bay on the twenty-eighth floor (five floors below the shooter). My husband, still vacillating about whether to surprise the kids at the concert or not, decided against it. He’d left his wallet in my beach bag and didn’t think it would be worth the effort of finding me and going back since the concert was almost over. That was at 10:00 PM, and had he made that one choice to go to the concert, he’d have been walking through the middle of the pit. He tried his hand at Lady Luck instead on the casino floor. My 6’4″ son loves to dance, and he loves country music! He, like everyone else, had been drinking and having a great time in the pit, when my daughter called him back because she was thirsty, and needed to get her card back from him. That happened as Jason Aldean began his song When She Says Baby, and the shooting began. Jesse and Natalie jumped into a truck, Daniel, turned one direction instead of another, each could have been disastrous misstep.
People made a million choices that night. Some made choices to save others and it cost them their lives because that’s who they were…selfless. My life forever changed that night. It forever changed my children and our friends’ lives too. I thank God each and every day for sparing them. Last year, was the first time I went back. It was hard and incredibly painful. Everyone in our group had already been back and I was the last one. It was comforting to be with my family, but I also felt incredibly isolated, just as I did that night. Being a mother and locked in a room, when your kids are endangered, with the shooter above you, was one of the worse kinds of hell, I’d ever experienced. Being where we are now, two years later, I just feel blessed. Blessed in Paisley, Charlie, Jesse, Natalie, Daniel, Kathleen, Carleen, and Jeffrey. I love you and I am so thankful you are all here. I’m so thankful and mindful of the last two years of experiences we’ve shared together. Nicole and Debbie, I’m so blessed you made those bleak hours in that room, less lonely.
In the past two years, a million wonderful memories have occurred. Vacations, holidays, Jesse and Nat getting engaged. So much love, so many, “I love you’s,” that isn’t taken for granted anymore. In that, evil doesn’t get to win. In that, family and friends do.
I thought about whether or not I’d write on this today. Should I do it, or not? You know what really pushed it over the edge for me? Fifty-eight people did lose their lives that night, four-hundred and eighty-nine were injured, twenty-two thousand people witnessed things no one should ever have to see because a sick, selfish, person decided to play God. And not thinking about them, feels like their sacrifice would be… I don’t know… I just wanted to remember them. I looked up each one of these people and learned small snippets about their lives. I encourage you to do the same, they were some truly amazing, selfless, beautiful, heroic people, and their stories are so worth knowing. I’m very blessed in my family, and I just wanted to say to the families of all these people below, everyone who was injured and everyone there at the concert, you aren’t forgotten.