What do you say after a tragedy?

So originally I planned to write my second post this past Sunday evening, but then the world in my hometown turned upside down and suddenly my posting anything seemed truly irrelevant.  I live in Las Vegas (well, really in Henderson, but I am a born and bred Vegas girl), and, if you’ve watched the news then likely you have heard that someone decided to rain bullets on 22,000 innocent people who were out enjoying a concert on a beautiful Sunday night in October (weather-wise, this is a fantastic time to be in Vegas).  This tragedy was something so surreal, so insane, and so not anything anyone I know could ever fathom happening here.  My love and I had thought about going to the concert that night, but could not get single night tickets.  But I knew a few people who did go either to enjoy the music or because they were a first responder already assigned to work the event.  Of those I knew that went, they either left before it happened or were able to get out after, but there was at least one person I know who lost one of their other friends who attended, and the cousin of a colleague of mine was shot (she is ok and as I understand, is now out of the hospital)).  My love and I looked at each other and said we’re thankful we weren’t able to go.  We heard this crazed man had rented rooms at a high-rise condo at the Life Is Beautiful Festival, which we did attend last weekend (for the final night of that event) and that is a scary thought because it hits home how this could have happened anywhere.  I know I don’t want to become paranoid because of incidents like this, but it definitely reminds you to be ever more aware of your surroundings when you’re out and about.  And my heart aches for all those who were injured and especially for those who lost their lives and their grieving families.  At the same time, I am also outrageously proud of my hometown for how everyone has pulled together to help all of the victims.  We may be known as Sin City, and there’s that tag line that implies that anything that happens here stays here, but what I hope doesn’t stay here and instead gets out to the rest of the world is how much heart actually resides here.

So, what does one say after such a somber week and saying “Cheers!” doesn’t feel at all appropriate?  Perhaps instead we should raise a glass and offer a prayer (and/or deepest sympathy and best wishes for healing, if prayer is not your thing…no judgement here) for those who lost their lives, for those who are recovering from their wounds, and for everyone from the concert attendees who were able to escape, to the folks staffing the concert who also had to flee, and of course for all of the first responders and all of the medical staff at the area hospitals that took in victims.  Our hearts go out to all of them.  And then after you raise your glass and make your offering, go hug those you love tightly.

p.s. The header photo is one of the best ones I have of (a portion of) the Strip.  I love that it shows at least a bit of how bright, colorful, and sparkly my hometown is.  No matter what this madman did, his actions can’t dim how bright Vegas shines.

p.s.s.  If you’ve been following the story and want to donate, there is a GoFundMe for Vegas set up to help the victims.   And if you happen to live in southern Nevada and are willing and able to give blood, please check out United Blood Services.  But do note that they are asking people to make appointments in order to better manage the blood supply.  Thank you!

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