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Annakim Violet published a series of posts on Instagram about her father Tom Petty that were heartbreaking.
Annakim Violet published a series of posts on Instagram about her father Tom Petty that were heartbreaking.
10/03/2017

Commentary: Yesterday sucked and today hurts

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // I haven't shed any tears yet, but I know those will come at some point as I reflect on Las Vegas and Tom Petty

I had been out Sunday evening and away from my messages. Taking a quick look at my phone before going to bed, I saw a push notification from the New York Times mentioning a shooting in Las Vegas.

My first thought was along the lines of this being just another random shooting that I'd read more about on Monday. I didn't click on the link or dial up Twitter to learn more about what was happening.

When I awoke Monday, I had a slew of messages about Vegas and began to dig into the news reports about the unimaginable scope of what had transpired during Jason Aldean's set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Numb with the shock and horror of the massacre, I turned my attention to writing a review on the Nathaniel Rateliff show at Pioneer Square on Saturday.

Then my phone started lighting up with messages saying Tom Petty had suffered a heart attack in his Malibu home Sunday evening and was in a Los Angeles hospital, possibly on life support. It wasn't much later before CBS news ran a story saying the Los Angeles Police Department had confirmed Petty had passed away.

I posted a quick note to our Facebook page and started thinking about what I might want to write as a retrospective on his life. Then the story changed and CBS walked back their reporting as LAPD said that they, in fact, did not have any news about Petty, nor did they have an investigative role.

Finally, after a day of confusing and conflicting reporting, Petty's manager confirmed Monday evening that Petty had passed away.

I went to bed with a heavy heart, both events weighing heavily in my thoughts.

When I woke up this morning, shock had started to give way to hurt and sadness. Our great music culture had been ripped by two very different tragedies in less than 24 hours.

I haven't shed any tears yet, but I know those will come at some point as I reflect on these events. About those who were killed, injured, and impacted in Vegas. About Petty's family and the heartbreaking words and pictures shared by his daughter Annakim Violette on Instagram. About our finite lifespans.

As I drank my coffee this morning, I sat struggling with how to write about Vegas and Petty. Writing is what I do and helps me make sense of the world and my experience. Yet, the thought of writing two separate pieces seemed much too daunting and painful.

How, I wondered, could I put some words down that might, in some small way, give me something to hang on to in the coming days?

So I sat down and started writing this piece. And what I came up with is as powerful as it is simple.

Love.

I'm going to approach today with boundless love. Love for those around me. Love for the music that always, always brings us together. Love for the families who are coping today with the heartbreak of losing those closest to them. And enough love for the world around me to commit myself to going out and doing what I can to make the world a better place.

I hope you will join me.

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