I’ve been unsettled all week and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then my Facebook memories showed me a picture of my husband, daughter, and I at the Imagine Dragons concert downtown. My body went cold, then hot. I started to panic. I couldn’t breathe. My heart was beating too hard, too fast, and irregularly. Two days before the biggest mass shooting in American history, which took place at an outdoor concert, I took my 10-year-old daughter to her first concert downtown.
She was so excited. We saw K. Flay, Grouplove, and Imagine Dragons. It was amazing. We were happy. No guns were fired and nobody lost their lives. Now, I’m filled with horror. We simply chose the right concert. That’s the difference between my little daughter, my husband, and I having a great experiences vs. fleeing for our lives.
The morning of the shooting, I went to a reading downtown for Dime Grinds, not far from where the shooting took place a few hours later. I made a blanket and gave it away during a raffle. My parents were there and it was the first time they ever saw me read. They were pretty proud. <3
The rest of the day was normal. And then it all fell apart. I wrote about it here. It’s still difficult for me to read.
It’s been a year. We have been forever changed. The next time I went to an outdoor concert (AWOLNATION, Sir Sly, Two Feet, Judah and the Lion, Manchester Orchestra), I was panicked. I held my husband’s hand too tightly. I scanned the buildings around me, looking for muzzle flash. My husband and I agreed where to meet in case there was an emergency and we were separated. Although, honestly, we’ve been doing that for years. My anxiety is always high and, as he likes to remind me, my mind is not my friend.
But we made it. Life goes on, although it goes on it sputters and gasps. I donated a story to an anthology called #VegasStrong and the proceeds are donated to the Code Green Campaign. If you are interested in picking up a copy, you can do so here.
It’s changed Vegas. It’s changed me. I read an interesting article saying that the very transient nature of Las Vegas has led to this being called a forgotten tragedy.
My friend reminded me that we can help by donating blood. If you are in the Vegas area, here’s a place where you can make an online appointment. Otherwise, please consider donating locally in memory of those who suffered this, and other, tragedy.
So much love to you, friends. Stay strong.