“it feels like it’s pulling me in this direction,” said Kristine Schalk, 1 October survivor.
For Kristine Schalk, coming to the Healing Garden is a form of therapy. She’s a survivor, but that doesn’t make each and every day any easier.
“It is hard to believe it’s been a year,” she said. “In some ways, it feels like yesterday, and in a lot of ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.”
Kristine was shot in the neck while attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her family. Though the physical injury healed within a few weeks, she’s still dealing with a different kind of pain.
“Never did I imagine that the emotional pieces would last so long. I always really thought I was a tough person, I always thought just battle through, just get through it, but emotionally, you just have no idea what it’s going to do to you and how it affects every single part of your day.”
She says simple sights and sounds serve as triggers bringing her back to the concert grounds.
but just like the walls of the Healing Garden something positive has come out of the pain — her connection with other survivors.
“It’s pretty amazing.”
Kristine is part of a survivor support group that meets once a week. She finds comfort in their collective strength not their suffering.
“It’s almost like we don’t talk about what happened, because we all just share that bond. We don’t necessarily re-live the memories in person with each other because it almost doesn’t matter where you were. It just matters that you made it out.”
Making it out and making it through together.
Also part of Kristine’s healing process is counseling. She says talking about the here and now is what keeps her going.
“The strength of knowing that you’re a survivor, that you’re a fighter, that you were blessed, I think is the biggest difference for me, knowing that I made it, knowing that I’m trying to put it behind me.”
Still, the past finds it’s way into her life including when she comes back to the Healing Garden.
8 News Now first met Kristine in May when she and other members of the community gathered to paint the parking barriers. Back then, and now Kristine says her emotional wounds still need time to heal.
“It’s a weekly process.”
But knowing her support group, counselors and the Healing Garden are all there for her is giving her hope.
“Just hanging out, just a shoulder to cry on, or just a place to be together — it matters, it matters.”