Monday, October 2, 2017

I Lost My Breath And Then Fate Stepped In

Fate is a fickle bitch. It usually shows up at the most inopportune time and when least expected. The fickle part is that fate can be for you or against you, and the against you is usually a bad thing. Last night, October the first, it was really bad. Really, really bad.

I think every parent's worst nightmare is to receive a distressing phone call about their child. What is worse is to receive a frantic call from your child during a traumatic event and then suddenly realizing that there is nothing you can do to help them. Their life is in the hands of fate. Your son or daughter is hundreds of miles away, desperately calling you, maybe for the last time, and you can do absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, during the phone call you hear screaming, and are those gunshots in the background!? The call is over way too fast and you need answers, your mind screams for clarity, but all you can do is sit and wait. It is a feeling that I wish upon no one on this earth. It's like your breath is being taken away. Last night, October the first, I lost my breath and then fate stepped in.

As the world now knows, on October first in Las Vegas Nevada, the deadliest mass shooting incident in the history of the United States happened at the Route 91 Country Music Festival. The very same event that our son and his girlfriend were attending. That phone call came way before any mainstream media news of the incident and we were desperate for information. We turned to social media where facebook was our friend, twitter was raw but informative, and a live audio feed of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police kept us on edge and updated. As this horrific event unfolded before us we couldn't help but wonder what our son and his girlfriend were experiencing. After what seemed like an eternity we finally received a phone call! Our son and his girlfriend were safe and somehow managed to make it back to their hotel room, but unfortunately this nightmare was far from over. The waiting game that ensued was nothing short of pure agony. The walls seemed to be slowly closing in around me and I couldn't help but think of "what if" scenarios. Minutes seemed like hours. My mind was betraying me as I desperately clung to faith. We knew they were sheltered in their hotel room but as the night wore on, and all the active shooter reports were (falsely) pouring in, we couldn't help but wonder if they were really safe. The very same information sources that we took some sort of feigned comfort in before were now disseminating information at a rabid rate, some of which we now know was untrue. Suddenly I took a deep breath as fate had once again stepped into the situation.

Fate was fortunately on our son's side last night, which really does nothing to ease the pain and trauma of witnessing death and mayhem all around you, let alone the pain and grieving that others are feeling that actually lost a loved one. For them fate was unusually cruel. Fate can also make survivors question themselves and the situation. Why did this happen? Why did the person, who was just a few feet next to me, die? What if I was standing there? Wait, I think I was standing in that spot! Maybe I could have helped more people. Am I a bad person for running away? Why did this happen? Why? Why?

There is a ton more questions that need answers and hopefully all of us will get the answers we are seeking. Although answers will not ease anyone's pain, they may provide closure for some and relief for others. In my opinion this incident is still too fresh to jump to any conclusions. The only thing definite is all the lives that were forever changed, some would say because fate stepped in.