The Numbing Factor of Tragedies

I didn’t write a blog last week. I’m currently living in Las Vegas and last Monday was a day full of distractions, a day most of us won’t forget.

I boarded a plane at 8:15 in the morning, heading to San Francisco and then on to Sonoma. “It’s going to be a full flight,” said the attendant. “Take the first seat you find.”

Only it wasn’t. The empty seats were grim reminders that something terrible had happened the night before. As we departed, the flight pattern took us over the Mandalay Bay. Looking down, one could still see the debris left by people fleeing for their life.

We’ve only been in Las Vegas since January. We found an inexpensive apartment (inexpensive relative to California) to be home base while Capt. Mark and I cruised the Pacific Northwest in our Nordic Tug. But that didn’t happen. A stroke felled the captain and we’ve been in recovery mode ever since.

In Las Vegas.

It’s never felt like home. Home is the vine-covered hills of Northern California’s wine country. We still have a house there, leased until late next summer. But it’s hard not to feel the pain that covers this desert community like a dark shroud. Reminders are everywhere…the television news, crosses lining Las Vegas Boulevard—one for each victim—and signs everywhere saying
#Vegas Strong.

People think of the town only in terms of the Las Vegas Strip and the slogans perpetrated by hotel and visitor’s bureaus. But there are eight hundred thousand people living in planned communities surrounding the strip, the town center, and industrial areas. We live in one of them—just nine miles from the site of the tragedy.

We don’t know many people here. But we heard later my daughter-in-law’s nephew and his new wife were there near the stage. They were uninjured and found safety, but when gunfire ended they went back to help others.

Tragedies like this seem to be a fact of life now. What bothers me most, however, is when numbness sets in, a mindset that shuts off feeling. I hope we’re never so accustomed to grim news that we shrug it off as the norm, something that happens to other people, not us.

I was like that until I got on the plane and saw the empty seats. I will never be like that again.

4 thoughts on “The Numbing Factor of Tragedies”

  1. Prayers for Las Vegas. It is hard to find the right words for a reply. Everyone here was of course thinking of you and Mark and wondering if you could have been at the concert. You were able to put into a powerful message, what so many of us are thinking.

    • Every day is a gift we each need to savor. It would be nice if every one would let others open that gift and not try to take it away from people they don’t even know.

  2. Thanks, Pam for putting into words what so many of us are feeling right now. I cannot imagine that plane ride – it brought tears to my eyes to read your post.


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