My Reaction To The SoCal Fire

fire, socal, anaheim hills, burn, cloud,dark,oc, orange county, talk, neighbor, spirit, orange, anaheim, tustin, freeway, 91 freeway, love,reaction, community, listen, cry, tears, sadness, heartI woke up this morning with a huge smile on my face. I mean, my boyfriend just presented a gorgeous engagement ring to me. Things are looking up for me. I finally got the job I have always dreamed of, I can’t complain.

I drove to work super excited about what this last full week at my current job would bring. I want to finish strong and never falter, I thought. Just as was getting lost in my many selfish thoughts, I drove through what seemed like an amber cloud, except this cloud had no end.

It was early in the morning but the sky was dark and haunting.

We had a fire recently so it looked like a bit of deja vu. I thought maybe there was a different explanation, maybe a residual effect of the recent eclipse? I mean, what else could it be?

I kept driving. I decided not to worry. It was much too early on a Monday to worry about anything.

I got to my first stop of the day and my phone started ringing. It was a coworker. He told me to be careful because there was a huge fire in the middle of my usual Monday route. I froze. Another fire? Seriously? When will all of this chaos end?

I went about my day as normal as possible doing my best to avoid the forbidden 91 East freeway. I thought of the most strategic way to get to where I needed to go. It was a success, I encountered very little traffic.

All was well until I got on the 91 West freeway. I couldn’t believe how fluid the freeway was around 3 pm on a holiday. Woohoo! But then I saw it. I saw a huge black cloud of smoke ahead of me. As I approached the cloud, I looked to my left and saw flames much taller than myself taking over the mountain I so often drive next to.

Suddenly traffic didn’t matter, suddenly I didn’t even matter.

I have to admit I admire nature but I am not a tree hugger. No matter what I am or what I am not, I stared straight into the eye of the fire and burst into tears. It was overwhelming. The fire was literally a few feet away from me.

I kept driving and the flames were endless. My tears shed because of all the people who might be affected by this. My tears shed because it hurt to see such beautiful land go up in flames.

I so often take this long strip of nature for granted. I drive next to it often yet think nothing of it. I just expect it to always be there. Today I realized it will not always be there, and even if it is, it was forever changed today.

I called as many loved ones as I could. I told them I loved them. I told them I was safe. I did what I should do every single day regardless of nature’s wrath. This fire reminds me that everything can literally change in a matter of seconds. People have lost all of their memories and sense of safety today.

To all those affected:

My heart breaks with yours. I am sorry you have had to endure such a loss and/or trauma. And while things might seem irreparable right now, remember that your spirit can never be broken. Remember that you are a part of a larger community and that you are and will never be alone. If you need to talk, reach out to me, I am always here to listen. If not me, reach out to your fellow neighbor.

And to the brave responders and volunteers: I am sending you all of my love and strength, thank you for all of your heart, bravery and hard work. You are changing the course of history as we speak.

Today was not the best of days for many, but let’s all make sure to make tomorrow better by letting all those around us know they matter and that we care.

Love Always and Forever,

Karen

Is There Ever A Reason For a Mass Shooting?

las vegas, massacre, death, kill, shoot, shooter, mass shotting, mandalay bay, country, music, concert, rifle, crazy, insance, pyschopath, mental, ill, sick, angry, upset, hate, love, together, story, why, matter, reason, motive, matter, death, casualties, survive, involved, help, donate, gofundme, heart, give,I know this topic is trending. I know many political issues will come to the fore again. I dislike writing about what everyone else is but my heart aches, so I will go with what my heart wants to write about.

I go to Las Vegas very often. I also regularly attend shows and concerts there. Last time I went to Vegas I had the lingering thought that something terrible could happen while there. And while these thoughts do not serve me, they do plague many minds.

How could they not? With so many recent violent acts, it is hard not to be afraid.

I heard a witness say this morning that he really doesn’t care “why” this person did this. I must agree with him.

I don’t care what you are going through, who you are angry with, who did you wrong, why you are dissatisfied with your life or the reasons you jotted down on paper or in your mind, there is no real “motive” or “reason” for killing innocent people.

I know we are obsessed with finding reasons for all tragedies. I know it is difficult not to put issues, incidents, and things into certain categories to better understand them.

I do much the same, I often want to know more about the “killer” or the person we have to blame for so much pain during such instances. I watch a lot of real crime and forensic shows so I often want to play detective myself.

I don’t want to do that today. I don’t care who this guy was. We have already made so many killers famous through means of their channeled hate. I choose love and I choose to help those affected in any way possible.

I don’t usually donate money to anything, mostly because I don’t have much to give, but that all changed today. I don’t have much to give, but I will give what I can with all of my heart… I donated to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund GoFundMe page this morning. I didn’t do it for myself, I did it for all of the families affected by this tragedy. I really didn’t have a choice.

This tragedy hits extremely close to home for me. Las Vegas really does feel like a second home for me, it’s definitely my safe haven. I go there to escape the routine and just have a good time (as do most people).

To The Killer: You are a coward. I don’t care why you did this, but I do care that you have instilled fear and pain among humanity in general. I will do what I can to help those that survived and the families of all those involved. I want to know about the people affected, I want to know their stories, I want to know no more about you.

You will only bring us closer together.

I have a friend who I lost to suicide. And while I wish I knew the reason “why”, it really doesn’t even matter anymore. He is gone and nothing will bring him back. The same goes for all those lost and wounded during this massacre. The “why” someone decided to this is inconsequential, in the end, it really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is what we do as a society after such an incident.

I do often wonder if my friend was always mentally ill or if it was a sheer moment of panic that took him over. The same goes for this horrible gunman, I wonder if you were always sick or if you went through a sick moment. But then I think, if I do find this out, will it finally put my heart and mind at ease?

Probably not.

Is there ever a motive or reason for a mass shooting? No. We all have free will and unfortunately some choose to provoke pain upon others and/or themselves.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

What Goes Through Your Head When Someone Dies…

death

Last night, I was sitting on my couch winding down after a long day. I had a cup of tea in hand and was just about ready to go to bed. I couldn’t help wonder about someone from my past.

It had been days since the initial thought of this person crossed my mind. I wondered who they had become after all these years. I wondered if they were a huge success and now married with kids.

We used to have something, an interesting (yet confusing) friendship. I still couldn’t stop wondering what the present looked like for this person. I could have been a part of their future, I thought, back when I had met them in college. Of course, life happened and we lost touch. Neither of us were really affected by the natural parting of ways.

So, while sipping on my tea, I decided to Google the person from my past I had always wondered about. I was excited to see what they were up to. Maybe they were an entrepreneur and had a gorgeous house and family by now…

The second Google search result down showed they had died in a tragic car accident over a year ago. They had hit a tree and died on impact. I knew it was them because of the description of the car and location. My stomach sank. A tear ran down my relaxed face.

We hadn’t talked in years and we would have probably never reconnected but a sadness came over my entire life. What if I would have died with them years before? What about their family? What about all their friends I had met years ago? Was everyone okay, I thought. Of course they aren’t, they lost a part of them.

I messaged another friend from my past to confirm. Yes, I was right in my assumption. We reminisced about the kids we once were. I couldn’t stop crying of joy and pain. The truth is, as we get older more people will die. More parts of our past and present will disappear.

I still can’t comprehend it. They were so young and recently engaged. They had a whole future ahead of them. I thought of all the moments I stole with them. I thought of the kindness and security I felt with them at a time when my life was complete and utter chaos.

Dear Old Friend, I am saddened by the fact that you are not somewhere out there in the world living a happy life. Thank you for bringing a sense of peace and happiness to my life during my confusing college years and making me feel like I wasn’t alone for a moment.

So, just like that, I feel my past is dead. I feel it almost didn’t happen because some parts of it is not living or breathing. Of course, this is a false pretense and all of it will live on in my memories. My old friend was just as real as my past was and is.

I still can’t help wonder what their future could have been. All the things they had left to do. And to the Fiance of Old Friend, I send you all of my love. You shared moments of your life with a really kind and loving person. May you continue to keep them in your memories and overcome the grief by finding true love once again. I never loved this person, but man, did I care for them. Rest in peace, Old Friend. The world feels less special without you in it.