LAS VEGAS — As Jason Aldean took the stage in Las Vegas last October, it seemed like the perfect end to a girls-only weekend.
"Both my mom and I were texting my dad ... I was telling him how much fun mom was having," said Stephanie Melanson.
A selfie of Rosemarie Melanson and her daughters Paige and Stephanie captures the moments just before the gunfire that would kill 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. As soon as Steve Melanson got a text about the shooting, he left home and raced to toward the chaos. Paige called to say she was hit too.
"She says, 'I'm OK, but we can't find Mom,'" he said.
Eleven hours passed with no word. Finally, they learned Rosemarie was on life support. It would be two months before she would regain consciousness.
"She looked at me kind of confused and she says, 'How many?'" Steve Melanson said. "I said, 'There's 58 that were killed, Rosemarie.'"
Her doctor said Rosemarie could have been 59.
"Remarkably, miraculously, she's made it through this far," said Dr. Matthew Johnson.
It took 12 major surgeries to repair the damage from the bullet that tore through her liver, spleen and stomach. Just last week, Rosemarie was wheeled out of the hospital, one of the final survivors released.
There's a constant reminder that many have it much worse — a mural honoring the 58 who died.
"I call it the wall of hearts," Steve Melanson said. "I drive by there almost every day and i'm grateful that Rosemarie's name is not on there."
He said he gets his inspiration from Rosemarie, his "rock." As one family heals, so too does an entire city.