Local Route 91 survivors, who didn't know each other one year ago today, now call each other family and say they are connected for life.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - October 1, 2017 is a day that will never be forgotten.
But rather than re-live that day, many local survivors of the Route 91 concert are coming together, focusing on how far they have come, and on the future, one year later.
Rebecca and Michael Williams and Michelle and Brent Little did not know each other one year ago - but they were both at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas.
"Four months ago, we ran into some other survivors at another event," Michelle Little said.
They met at a support group meeting, and now, they call each other family.
"There's a support system here in Bakersfield that everyone who was there needs to join," Rebecca Williams said.
"It can be 2 am or a Saturday afternoon, and if you need to call, they're going to pick up the phone," Michelle said.
Dr. Bradley Cloud, the Deputy Director of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, says that is proven to help.
"It's really helpful for those folks to share their stories. It gives all of us hope," he said.
The past year, they have experienced a roller coaster of emotions.
"This last year has been really rough. I think rougher than I even thought it was going to be. I think I've tried to hold it together," Rebecca said.
"It's not my feelings that I worry about. I'm fine. It's her feelings," Rebecca’s husband, Michael, said.
And together, they have come a long way.
They agree that sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday, and other days, it feels like it's been the longest year of their lives.
"I'm always on high alert. I'm always scared," Rebecca said.
They hold on to each other for strength.
"We're one big family of people who never intended to be family but we're connected forever," Michelle said.
“The way human beings get through hard things, is by doing it together," Dr. Cloud said.
The Williams and the Littles say their support group grows every time they meet, and they welcome every survivor to come join them.
"We have good days and we have bad days and the good days are good and the bad days are really bad," Michelle said.
As these Route 91 survivors look to the future, they say they are thankful to be here today.
"Tomorrow is not promised. We take full advantage of every single day we have with our kids, our grandkids, our family, you know, our friends, just every single day," Michelle said.
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