Two Years

Healing Garden

I’ve not blogged in quite awhile, but the two-year “anniversary” of what happened here in Vegas is coming up a few days from now. Whether or not it sounds cliche, what happened then–it’s still hard for me to even type the date–will always be referred to by me as “the incident.” It doesn’t help that a few weeks ago, it was announced that the site of “the incident” would be turned into an overflow parking lot for Raiders games and other events. I’ve spoken to a few people who lived through it, and though there’s a need to move forward for the sake of moving forward, a parking lot is not an acceptable memorial for 58 lives lost.

I often wonder how my life might’ve been different had October 1st, 2017 (there, *that’s* the date…I typed it before I caught myself) hadn’t unfolded as it did here in Las Vegas. Granted, it’s a moot point, but I can still wonder, “What if?” And I know I’m not alone in wondering that; part of my daily prayer list each day on my way to work when I pray is for those dealing with PTSD and praying for them to have the courage to seek help. I did not know PTSD was what I was dealing with in the months after “the incident” until it was a bit too late, and I had acted out in my personal and work life to an extreme while trying to cope with the feelings manifesting themselves inside of my head. Also, learning not to fault myself for *not knowing* that’s what I was dealing with in early 2018 when it hit me hard and I nearly cracked; it’s sometimes difficult to see the signs until you genuinely feel as though you’re losing your mind. For me, one of the things which manifested itself was a “tunnel-vision vision” of getting married, and ASAP. I met Gerard in late February of last year, and I had the suite at Caesars Palace booked for the wedding in late May. (Of course, that was cancelled after speaking to many people close to me, who counselled me to stop, breathe, and get to know him better.) Last summer Ariana Grande was following the same quick engagement pattern with Pete Davidson, and I immediately recognized the common PTSD coping mechanism…it’s hard to explain, but I related. (Ms. Grande also dealt with an “incident” before one of her concerts in Manchester.) They, too, called off the wedding and are now separated. Gerard and I are still together–and living together–but nowhere near marriage.

I sound like a broken record, but it’s hard to explain what happened in the aftermath of “the incident” two years ago. Perhaps the fear one is not going to be alive much longer, and/or that one escaped what seemed in the moment to be an imminent death? I’m still not sure, but these are things I think about each day. I work with a guy who was telling me a new co-worker of his two years ago had won a contest at work for tickets to the concert where “the incident” happened. His exact words when telling me the story were, “What the hell kind of prize was that? And we *all* wanted to win the tickets, but she won them.” Thankfully, she survived. And *I survived*, and *lots of other people* survived. But *58 people* didn’t survive, and that’s still an incredibly hard pill to swallow, even as I type this.

I don’t know when I will feel “normal” again, or when the date of “the incident” will come and go and it won’t bring up all these feelings again. Perhaps the answer is *never*, but I can share what I’ve learned, experienced, cried over, been ashamed about, and–in the end–learned to accept as part of my life experience with someone who might need to hear about it. To those families still mourning the loss of their loved one(s) this “anniversary,” I send my condolences. To those at the concert, I hope they’ve gotten the help they needed. And to those others like me–who were working on The Strip when “the incident” happened, I pray that we really, truly can move forward and put the harrowing memories behind us.




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