When I opened my computer yesterday morning, it was past midnight in the US.
I logged onto Facebook and right there on the small side bar, I saw the words "shooting in Las Vegas." My finger made its way to the link, and then my eyes made their way down the article.
It was one of the early reports, and not much was known other than the basic facts - and some numbers.
Shooting in Las Vegas. Where my daughter lives.
She did not pick up the phone when I called the first time, nor the next many times.
I hung on to a text she had sent me several hours before telling me that she was going to the lake. I hung on to a text from her brother telling me that she would never go see this particular concert.
More than anything, I hung on to a feeling in my body that said that if she was hurt, I would know it.
I got dressed, I dialed her number, I went hiking in the hills, I dialed her number. I had my feet in Tuscany and my heart floating somewhere else.
I hung on to a feeling in my body that said that if she was hurt, I would know it.
At 4 pm, I got a text from her. She was camping at the lake. She did not have her phone with her. She had just awakened.
I asked if I could please see her face for a minute. She immediately got on FaceTime, and I saw her face. Tanned, in nature, and very much alive.
That's when my heart simultaneously exploded in two very distinct directions.
It exploded from having held a possibility at bay for seven long hours, telling myself that "if she was hurt, I would know it." At the very same time, my heart exploded because I was aware that this moment when I could see my girl, healthy and alive was not going to be granted to all parents, siblings, friends, today.
The rest of the evening, the night and today have felt like a haze. A fog made of thick layers of gratitude and bereavement. And of wondering ... "what the heck is going on?" Followed by so much awe and love for the people who showed up at the very best we can ever hope to show up for each other.
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I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.