With the two year anniversary of the Borderline tragedy right around the corner, I have spent a lot of time reflecting. As a lot of people who know me know, I was supposed to be there the night that it happened. But thankfully, one of my friends got sick and we decided to postpone until the next week. However, we didn’t tell anyone that we decided not to go, which is why at 2 am the night it happened, I awoke to my phone buzzing non-stop, friends, family, and people I hardly knew, calling and texting to make sure that I was okay. Physically, I was okay. But even though I wasn’t actually there, mentally, I struggled for a long time.
Actually, I still struggle. The other day I remembered that the anniversary was coming and as always, I burst into tears. I still have nightmares about what could have happened if I was there. This event led to PTSD I didn’t even know I could have. PTSD that I feel guilty for having because I wasn’t actually there. Yes, I lost people that I knew and I will forever miss them, but I wasn’t there. My mind has forced me to believe that it is selfish for me to have these fears and worries when I didn’t experience that night the same way that so many others did.
Thankfully, my guilt is often comforted, as is my PTSD, and everything I feel towards this day. So many people have told me that my fear is valid. That it is okay to still have panic attacks over this because the thought of “What if I had been there,” will always circulate through my mind. Because of this, I feel a sense of ease. I always loved Thousand Oaks. I grew up in the area. But after Borderline happened, I love Thousand Oaks even more. The way that the entire community came together, comforted each other, and helped each other grow is something that I will never forget.
Even now, two years later, you could be talking to a random stranger at Target about something, and the second Borderline is brought up for any reason, or that you were there, or even almost there, they know. People know what we went through that night. The pain, the waiting, the not knowing, the fear. All of it. The community knows what people went through that night, and even now, two years later, they are all still there for one another.
I take a lot of comfort and pride in knowing that Thousand Oaks is a community that I will always be able to rely on for support, in the lightest and the darkest of times. November 7th will forever be a sad day in the community, but it’s nice to look at it with hope. With remembrance, with love, with sadness. But, most of all, with hope. Don’t forget to hug your loved ones this November 7th and to keep those that we lost in your thoughts and close to your hearts.