There are so many remarkable stories of survival that came out of the 1 October tragedy. Take the Melanson family.
A mother and her daughters attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival with the intent of having a good time while they listened to country music. But by the time it ended when the festival was cut short due to a lone gunman, one daughter was shot, and the mother was feared to be dead.
One year later, the backbone of the Melanson family continues her road to recovery.
Rosemarie Melanson hosted a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of that tragic night.
Over the last year, Rosemarie Melanson has been beating the odds over and over again, and it hasn’t been easy. Less than a month ago, she had, what her family hopes, is the last surgery.
“Sometimes I have good days and some days not so good,” Rosemarie said.
Since 1 October, Rosemarie has only been home about five weeks because she has been in and out of the hospital and has had have 12 surgeries.
When 8 News NOW last spoke with her the mother of four was weeks away from another one. But there was some good news: Doctors told her it may be her last.
“I’m excited because it’s not too far away and I want to be fixed for good but at the same time, there’s always that doubt what if,” Rosemarie said.
8 News Now was there when she was first discharged from the hospital in early February. She had been fighting for her life for four months and was the last survivor to go home.
But after some complications, she was back days later.
“I think my whole outlook is different, you know, you go through so many emotions,” Rosemarie said.
Emotions that she says she hasn’t been able to process. And now, as she continues to recover physically, she ‘s also suffering from anxiety.
Rosemarie’s strength and will to keep fighting has really impressed her close-knit family.
“I knew she was strong and stubborn, but I didn’t know how strong and stubborn she was,” said Paige Melanson, Rosemary’s daughter.
Paige and her sister Stephanie Melanson were at the concert with their mother.
A bullet grazed Paige, but she said after seeing her mom in the emergency room for the first time, she knew her mother was barely hanging on to life.
“Seeing her connected to everything: Tubes and breathing machines, like I never imagined that I would see my mom like that,” Paige said.
Rosemarie’s husband of 31 years, Steve Melanson, says even the doctors couldn’t explain how she survived after taking a bullet in the shoulder that damaged several of her vital organs.
“It’s just by the grace of God that she survived,” Steve said.
He recalls an interesting conversation with his wife after she woke up for the first time following the shooting. Rosemarie has forgotten a lot of the details of that night, but she recalls having an out of body experience after she was shot.
“And then after that she remembers rising above her body and looking down at her body in the grass hearing the gunshots, hearing the people screaming,” Steve said.
Just like his children, Steve has been by Rosemarie’s side every step of the way.
“She’s my hero; she’s my rock,” he said. “She’s — (gets choked up) — sorry.”
Steve said he can’t imagine life without his soulmate, but there was qa moment when he did think he had lost her. After hours of searching several hospitals looking for Rosemarie, her name was not listed anywhere, so he turned to his daughter for help.
“I told her ‘I don’t think mom made it cause her name was never on the list,” said Steve.
However, Rosemarie cheated death and survived catastrophic injuries.
“We may be Vegas Strong, but as a family, we’re Melanson Strong,” Steve said.
When she’s physically able, Rosemarie is looking forward to giving back to the community that has given so much to her.
“The amount of cards, the amount of gifts, just unbelievable,” Rosemarie said.
Rosemarie says she would also like to go on vacation and get away for a while.
She had her last surgery Sept. 4, and her family tells me she’s back home, but her medical issues are far from over.