Healing from 1 October: Time, tattoos and maybe even burning your boots

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s called the anniversary effect, or anniversary reaction, and many here in our community are dealing with it on 1 October.

The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center says the impact of something as heinous as the mass shooting here has a ripple effect, and many are still coming to terms with it.

“I always told myself, I’m fine. I can handle this,” said Nadine Lusmoeller. “I remember I was in the back of a pickup truck and people were telling me, stay with me, stay with me.”

Lusmoeller is a warrior. She says she tried to cloak the emotions from that night by volunteering and meeting with other survivors. It wasn’t until the pandemic-forced isolation that she found the help she needed.

“It takes time. It takes a lot of time,” Lusmoeller said.

And that’s a point she wants to get across. There’s no timetable for healing, and not everyone is ready to accept that help.

Terri Keener, the behavioral health coordinator for the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, agreed.

“I actually met someone from Columbine who said it took her 21 years to reach out and get help,” Keener said. “We do a lot of outreach, advocacy, just to let people know we’re here,” Keener said.

The center is fully outfitted with a variety of options to help people, but out of necessity, they had to switch to virtual assistance this past year. In doing so, Keener said they’ve been able to reach more people across the country.

“We keep discovering groups of people that are impacted,” Keener said. “It shows up in some way, different for everybody.”

And the healing process looks different for everyone, too.

Lusmoeller took the boots she wore that night and burned them. She got a tattoo to cover some of the scars on her leg. And she found her purpose and happiness again.

“This year is the first year where I can say I’m not devastated by it,” she said.

Lusmoeller has decided to go back to school to be a therapist, and give back what she has received.

The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is asking anyone who may be in need of anything to reach out to them. That’s the first step.

The Resiliency Center is offering extended hours for 1 October, both virtually and in-person. Staff will be available today from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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