I was supposed to write yesterday. But I couldn’t. There were no words.
You may not know this, but I live in Las Vegas. About a 10-minute drive from the scene of the mass shooting. And it’s strange. I wasn’t at the music festival. I know a few people who were, but I didn’t know anyone well. I don’t feel like I was directly affected by what happened. And yet. It feels so close to home. It feels so personal.
We hear about mass shootings a lot these days. You get a little numb to the news. It’s awful. You feel sad. You talk about it. And then you move on – angry or sad or frustrated – but you move on.
And then it happens down the street from your house.
You wake up to text messages filling your phone, asking if you’re okay. Messages that say, “If you don’t respond by morning, I’m calling the hospitals.” And your heart drops, and you’re confused, and why are people asking this? Then you see the news, and you find yourself doing the same. Texting friends. Checking Facebook. Looking for signs of life. Or tragedy.
And all you can do is read the news. Over and over. Scrolling. Looking for pictures. Looking for details. Looking for an explanation.
And all you can feel is tears.
By afternoon, I realized I wasn’t going to accomplish much, as I couldn’t stop obsessing. I allowed myself the grace to feel what I was feeling and sit with it. I allowed myself to read all the news articles and the Facebook updates and watch the press conferences. I spent extra time on the phone with my partner and texted with friends. I spent time in nature, reminding myself to breathe.
In the evening, I worked with a friend, drafting a letter to my U.S. representatives. We feel strongly about the need for gun control, and together we researched and fact-checked and wrote. It’s a small thing, to write a letter, but it feels important.
Today, I start again.
I still cried this morning when I read the New York Times article about the victims of the shooting. I still allowed myself to read more morning newspapers than usual. And that’s okay. But now I’m working to move forward. With a little more resolve. A little more love in my heart. A little more concern for my neighbors and fellow citizens.
Everything feels a little broken. More than before.