For Jessica Ghawi, one of the 12 people killed in the shooting rampage at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, Thursday evening wasn’t her first altercation with a crazed gunman.
It’s Ghawi’s last entry in the blog. In it, she describes an “empty, almost sickening feeling” that “won’t go away.”
She’d planned to get sushi, she wrote, but uncharacteristically changed her mind and went elsewhere. Then, three minutes before the shootings started—she later checked her receipt—she bought a burger and poutine. Otherwise, she would have run into the gunman, she wrote.
“After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire.”
Then, after noticing emergency vehicles outside, the horror of what had happened dawned on her. In her description, she offered a sense of what it might have been like in that Aurora movie theater, describing a scene that was “surprisingly calm”:
“Multiple gunshot holes in his chest, side, and neck were visible. It’s not like in the movies when you see someone shot and they’re bleeding continuously from the wound. There was no blood flowing from the wounds, I could only see the holes. Numerous gaping holes, as if his skin was putty and someone stuck their finger in it. Except these wounds were caused by bullets. Bullets shot out of hatred. His dark skin on his torso was tinted red with what I assume was his own blood. He was rushed into the ambulance and taken away.
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”
At the end of her blog, Ghawi offered up a moment of gratitude for the little time she had left, and in the process, left the world with comforting remarks on her own passing:
“I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.”
Photo via @jessicaredfield