SPRING, Texas (FOX 26) - On Monday, Facebook’s memories feature reminded Marlena Hedine of Spring where she was exactly a year ago – about to witness the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“It was a little difficult going through that and seeing those memories and, like, seeing how happy we were and like knowing that [things] changed on that Sunday,” she told FOX 26.
On the final day of the festival, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on concert-goers – killing dozens and injuring hundreds. Hedine was near the stage when the shooting began. She says she had nowhere to go but lay on the ground, stare at the sky, and tell God she did not want to die.
“I just remember laying there and I was trying not to look around thinking I just hope my girls know I love them and then I was like, I don’t want them to live without a mom,” she said fighting back tears.
Hedine and her friends were not hurt. However, she’s struggled survivor’s remorse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She says she’s drawn strength from self-help books, podcasts, and her love for her two young daughters to work through the trauma and depression.
“I just had to face the stuff that I was going through and honor it and know that these are true feelings. That just getting mad at people, I wasn’t crazy like there was a reason I was doing that,” she explained about coming to terms with PTSD.
She says certain sounds still trigger bad memories but she’s focusing on making the most of her second chance at life and using her experience to help others struggling with PTSD.
“I’m a completely different person. This year has been my lowest year to my highest year,” Hedine said.
Hedine returned to Las Vegas this Spring. She went to the memorial to honor the victims. She says the hardest part was seeing children’s letters to their mothers who died and thinking those children could have been her daughters.