Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three Weeks: How Vegas Has Affected Me

Three weeks have passed since the Las Vegas event that turned 22,000+ lives upside down. More than 22,000 are affected and I hope everyone can see that. It has been a struggle for three weeks to get back to normalcy, and honestly, it's a far cry from that. I am trying to focus on the positive each day. Our lives are not the same they were, nor do I foresee them to change back. The past may be the past, but as it says in Deuteronomy 4:9, 

"But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren." 

In context, I believe God is telling us to never forget so that we learn from what happened and that we do not get complacent. I also believe he wants us to share our experiences so that others can learn, so our children can learn and prepare themselves. 

Kymberli and I were there together in Las Vegas. We were fortunate in that for many reasons. We worked together to get to safety and experienced the worst thing we have ever had to deal with. For those who had spouses, partners, or family at home; life has been difficult for them because they have no one to understand exactly what happened. There are others who want to offer their advice or try to relate, but it's not the same. Those of us who were there are forever bound by the trauma. With that said, we are handling this in different ways. I feel I have many other things I need to do, work on, or complete. I have a very difficult time focusing on Las Vegas each and every day. I want to focus on getting better, getting to the woods, and enjoying nature. I do not want to talk about it all the time. For me, I have good days and bad. Most days I am OK, but I have had quite a few with high anxiety followed by stress. I would never wish this on anyone. It's awful and it is out of my control. So I pray. I try to occupy myself with other things that I love like my family, archery, or hunting. Some days it works and some days not, yet I still try.

Melissa Ramirez

Kymberli handles things much different than I and I am thankful for that too. If she hadn't been so thorough we would not have known that the woman we helped was Melissa Ramirez. Melissa lost their life that night and it breaks my heart every time I think about it. We had not looked at her face, nor had we talked to the two men with her, and Kymberli needed to know who she was. It was eating her up inside. This is the Cliff Notes version, but Kymberli reached out on the Go Country FB Support Forum and through weeks of detective work, others sharing their stories and photos, contact with her familia and the two of us talking, was able to put everything together. We had helped carry Melissa V. Ramirez, a 26-yr old young woman from Southern California. With her assiduity and determination, Kymberli was able to put things together for herself and for Melissa's family. They needed these details as much as Kymberli did. I am glad she was able to do all of that. Personally, because I was there and I was created differently, this makes me more anxious and testy. It's like reliving it over and over - every - single - day. It's also very hard because I want to support my wife and help her get through this, but I also know I need to help myself. I feel selfish when I say that, but healing isn't always easy. To say this is an internal struggle would be an understatement.

My heart goes out to the Ramirez family. May God bless and watch over your family and help you through this. I pray for peace and the time to grieve for you all. I look forward to the day we can meet and learn more about Melissa and the person she was. God has us all here for a reason and I know it will come to light as time goes on. We were bound together for a reason and my faith tells me to trust in God. Indeed, I will do that. We are #VegasStrong and will continue to support each other.

For those of you who have been afraid to call me, email me, or text...please do not be afraid. I'm still Al Quackenbush, lover of the outdoors, hunting, archery, sarcasm, and dumb jokes. In fact, these are the times I could use those the most. It may be hard, but think of it as that mountain in the distance. It looks too tall to climb over and it may be tough, but it's the only way to get to that next mountain.

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