Finding Footing

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For a few weeks after the nightmares of the shooting ended, my nightmares turn to loss of place. Every dream was about the floor falling out from beneath me as I ran or in an outdoor scene, every path would suddenly be blocked. Fortunately, those dreams dispersed. However, they create a feeling of loss and disconnect. So what is important is to:

  1. Feel what you need to feel. Your body is telling you what you need, listen. If crying is the urge, put yourself in a position where you can cry. If you feel that you need to scream, be in a place where you can. If you feel the need to hit someone(thing), please go to a place where you can do that safely without causing a brawl.
  2. Accept the feeling, acknowledge it and let it go. My support group REALLY didn’t like that I said that last week. Especially those that are still stuck on that night. By no means is this part easy. It may take one time or it can take 20 times but I swear, the intensity will diminish. .
  3. Be kind to yourself. It’s going to feel like a cha-cha. You think finally it’s behind me and then WHAM! You’re hit again. Truthfully, I don’t think it ever will be completely behind me.
  4. Be positive. Yes, you read that correctly. There is actually a branch of psychology now that is using positive thoughts to aid in the trauma recovery, it’s called Positive Traumatic Therapy and it actually promotes Post Traumatic Growth. What? Yes, Post Traumatic Growth is when you come out stronger than you were before the incident.
  5. Life continues on. The world keeps spinning. The mortgage needs to be paid. The boss expects employees to show up to work. People continue to be born and die. As difficult as it is life does go on. For example, Immediately after the shooting, I went on my scheduled vacation and then Halloween hit. A month later, my son had to move back home. Then came Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Two weeks later, my elderly mom fell, breaking her nose that landed her in an ICU unit. Three weeks later and the day before I was flying out to handle her financial affairs so she didn’t have to worry about them while in the hospital, me and my boyfriend of 5 years broke up. 5 days after that, mom dies. Guess what? Life happens.
  6. Focus on the good that you have. I’m grateful to have steady footing with a good and stable job, a home, and a few friends and family that have been there for me.

These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned in the last four months. Have an awesome day!

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Starting Over

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In the last four weeks, my 5 year relationship ended just in time for my mom to pass.

The good part of all of this is that since the ending of my relationship, life has become smooth and easy. What do I mean by that?

Luke Combs When it Rains it Pours. In case you are not a fan of country music, here’s the Youtube link. Copy, paste, and check it out!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXyxFMbqKYA

When you’re done laughing, yes that is how my life has been the last few weeks. We can’t stop life from happening but it can definitely go easier.

For months I’ve felt as though the ground beneath my feet was going to fall away at any time.

It’s time to do the cha-cha. Yes, dance.

For many years now I’ve had to cha-cha through life to keep going because my perseverance has keep me going through physical problems. The cha-cha is a simple dance you move forward and you move back. Dealing with injuries and life obstacles make you do the cha-cha to keep going.

The only thing that can stop you from moving forward is YOU. I chose not to let the shooter prevent me from taking my trip to Egypt. I chose to not allow that night to prevent me from attending concerts again.

The choice is yours.

 

Decisions

No matter what happens to us, life goes on. The clock continues to tick, the seasons continue to change. The decision is what do we do after things happen and what kind of life do we want to live.

Travis Tritt’s song “It’s a great day to be alive” has become my motto. No matter what kind of day I having, I got to have that day, something denied to many.

We are coming up on 4 months since the shooting that changed Las Vegas forever. Many survivors are still unable to function. I am glad to see there are so many resources available to anyone that was there. For me, knowing that I had help with the medical bills has been the biggest aid. To this day, I don’t know how to help any of them and yet I have to continue with life.

Today, I have to make a decision on the quality of life of my mother. She has been in the ICU unit for the last week. Every attempt to remove her from the ventilator has failed. To make matters worse, the siblings are not getting along (not that we ever really did).

No matter what your age is, make a living directive. I can not express enough how important it is for your wishes to be known. For 13 years, I tried getting her to make a living directive and a will and now it is coming back to haunt her. Don’t let this happen to your family.

Defeat

Sometimes we have to cut our losses a admit defeat. This isn’t an easy thing to do.

When it rains it pours.

My mother took a nasty fall about a week ago. Her nose was broken and evacuated to another hospital in another state, that one I’m still trying to figure out. There are 2 capable hospitals right there that could have treated her. They are well versed in geriatric medicine.

I digress…

My brothers and I had been in agreement for her care until now. They signed a blanket emergency waiver for the hospital to do procedures that are not yet necessary.

She is cogent. They will not listen to her or me for that matter even though I refused consent.

I am disgusted in the way the health system works. This is why she didn’t want to go in the first place. I can’t stop what they are going to do. All I can do is hope she  forgives me for failing her and say goodbye. I’m hoping thats all she is waiting for is the goodbyes to return to source.

Battles

SER’s a bitch. For those that don’t know what it is, it stands for sudden emotional response. They can’t be controlled as much as you want to. The build up prolongs PTSD like a tea pot boiling. The steam has to go somewhere. You feel out of control and weak. It’s something you have to live through to understand.

The trigger? A man came through work today. He was a total zombie. The pain in his eyes caught me off guard. When I looked at his wrist I realized he was at the shooting.

I felt sorrow for his state and at the same time grateful to be alive.

You have no way of knowing the battles someone is facing just as noone knows yours.

Outlook

I’m not sure where to even start. Although I’ve tried, I can’t seem to write about anything but the event that changed my life.

Growing up, you’re told how career, marriage, kids, and just general things will make you into into what is deemed as acceptable to society. Men are taught they have to protect everyone all the time or they’re not a man. Women are taught that we should kill ourselves to have the perfect life and perfect figure to go with it.

I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve bore a child who is now a man. I’ve unofficially adopted kids that are now men who still call me mom. I’ve a good job and a home. I’ve a man in my life that loves me without end.

One thing I never thought I would be able to say about myself is that I am a survivor of the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Most people don’t know and that is by choice. I go to work everyday and I do my job which is ironically keeping people safe.

On the outside I seem all together but on the inside I’m in shambles, directionless, lost, alone. My tears are shed in private, my thoughts drift through my head until I find an outlet. I choose not to talk to friends. The pity in their eyes when they found out I was there and we were hurt is heartbreaking.

When asked, my response if fine or alright. Simply because I don’t want them to know the horrors and I want them to keep a bright outlook at the world. I know all too well the truth about mankind. Despite accusations, I do not wear rose colored glasses, I chose to believe there is some good in the world or I wouldn’t be able to leave my home.

 

Healing Garden

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Today I finally went out to the Healing Garden the city of Las Vegas created to commemorate that night. The fallen 58 is the focal point.

I went out there after reading a story about a soldier that returned to his family in 1968 from Vietnam; in 2004 he had a PTSD breakdown. I didn’t want to be that person.

In the bottom right hand corner picture was a surprise to me: a Survivor Prayer Garden. I painted two rocks already: one for me and one for my boyfriend should he chose to join me.

My thoughts turned to those that were there that don’t know about the garden. Would they want to have a rock in the garden with their name on it?

Maybe I can help with that, Lord knows I don’t know of any other way to help.

While this seems so insignificant, this maybe that one little step, that one little tear that can mean the world in this healing process.

I may not be able to get my shoe back but I can take my life back.

Acting

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A few years ago, a dear old friend confided in me that he was diagnosed with PTSD. He had completed several tours and survived several encounters in the Mideast so it wasn’t surprising. When I finally said something to friends about being at the concert he asked me one question:

How are you acting?

This question caught me off guard and I had to stop and think about what he was actually saying. He brought to light for me that I wasn’t handling the situation as well as I thought I was. The turmoil that goes on inside is a constantly moving, rolling around and continues to create momentum. On the outside, someone can seem calm and cool and be completely lost on the inside.

It’s the inside is what we need to address.

I have spent many hours listening to friends dealing with situations like this. Although I could empathize with them, I couldn’t sympathize until now. I know they appreciated having me there even though I couldn’t possibly understand what they were going through. I know this because this is how I feel about those around me.

Most people don’t know I was there. I made that decision due to the reactions I received. From most friends I received pity, from most coworkers I received a cold shoulder, and from most family I received a stern get over it. I’m not holding it against them. Drinking the poison and expecting it to effect them is futile. I also understand that most people can not fathom that something like this occurred in the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, these were not the reactions of everyone. A couple of friends, coworkers, and family members sincerely ask about my progress. For them I am grateful.

Reassessment

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As a tween, that’s what it’s called these days, I began to have in interest in traveling. A picture of the the Sphinx started it and Egypt was at the top of my list ever since. I was completely fascinated by Egyptian mythology, even named animals after Gods, Goddesses, demi-gods, and heroes.

My chance to go to Egypt on an educational trip years ago fell through. At that time, I gave up on going. I always felt that traveling was out of reach. Maybe something I could do when I retire.

Well, I just booked my flight to go to Egypt and I’m not retired.

Suddenly I became excited about going again. Months of planning with a friend didn’t diminish a constant nagging feeling of something was going to fall through again. Now it seems real.

While I am excited to go, I find that I’m more excited about seeing a dear friend and spending a week hanging out with her. Cairo simply feels like a bonus.

This makes me question my true desire to travel and all of the things listed on my travel board. Do I really want to see the world or is it about sharing treasures and time with others that makes it special? Perhaps it’s simply a little of both.

 

Theatrics

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Concerts are the best thing ever for me. All of my life I have loved attending concerts of all genres. it doesn’t matter whether it’s a county fair and we’re sitting on the grass or an indoor stadium holding 30,000 screaming fans. Music speaks. The energy of the band combined with the energy of the crowd induces one hell of a good time.

In 2012, I was honored to attend a concert I thought would never take place in the United States. Two days ago, I attended another concert for the same band.

The show that this band produces is nothing like I had ever seen before. It’s a combination of story telling with visual play that is acting out in front of you. The vocals and music are in sync, no one is overbearing to the other. Even if you don’t know the language, you can feel the intent of the lyrics. Their use of pyrotechnics, lights, and industrial background is in perfect balance and has made this show the best one I had ever seen.

To most people that doesn’t mean anything but to those that know me, it says the world.

If you have the opportunity and want to see a great show, Rammstein is the way to go.