LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Over the past few years 8 News Now has been chronicling the journey of Rosemarie Melanson a 1 October survivor.
8 News Now’s Denise Valdez spoke with Rosemarie and her daughters Stephanie and Paige about the night of the tragedy.
The mother of four children was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her daughters when she was hit by a single armor-piercing bullet.
“I looked up at the sky and I knew right away we were in trouble,” Rosmarie told 8 News Now.
“I was grabbing my mom’s head and screaming, Mom, mom, mom, and the last thing, she said to me…,” Stephanie is then overcome with emotion.
That last thing Rosemarie said to Stephanie was that she couldn’t breathe.
Her youngest daughter was also injured in the shooting.
But in the chaos, Rosemarie described a sense of calm.
“I could feel my spirit leave, actually leave, it actually left my body. It is literally levitating 20 feet over my dead body,” she described. “I could see myself looking down. I could see the two girls looking over me. They are screaming and yelling, bullets flying.”
Rosemarie was one of the first people shot that night, and one of the last survivors to come home from the hospital.
“I was on life support for two months and spent 13 months in the hospital,” she added. “I took the bullet to the chest, it broke two ribs and punctured my lungs. It blew out the junction where the esophagus meets the stomach,” she told 8 News Now. “It went through my stomach, took out a third of my liver, and went through my spleen.”
However, somehow Rosemarie survived and reflected on those moments in the light.
“I was told when I come back I was to share these words, that we are to be kind, we are to be humble and that love is the key,” she said.
While Rosemarie held on to her newfound mission.
Her daughters threw themselves into their work at the family business, Dance Dynamics in Downtown Summerlin.
“It was really important as a family to be together and make sure we were there for her recovery. But at the same time, we knew Mom would not want us to give up on our dream and what we’ve worked literally our whole lives for,” Rosemarie’s daughter Paige said.
The business blossomed and Rosemarie made it home more than a year later.
After spending too many holidays in the hospital the family went on a cruise and celebrated their blessings in business and in life. They also supported other survivors at the annual Vegas Strong 5K.
The phrase, ‘Melanson Strong,’ has become a family motto.
“Whatever it is that you are fighting you can get through it one day at a time,” she added.