“It’s been a really long week. I will be glad to get my girl home”.

No truer words were ever said and no dad should ever have to say them. When your daughter leaves for a Las Vegas weekend with her girls, you worry about whether her kids will be safe with grandma and grandpa, not whether bullets will rip through the concert venue, sending shrapnel through her eyes. Yet, for Chelsea Romo’s dad this was reality. While enjoying a girl’s weekend in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest concert shots rang out damaging both of her eyes. Her brave friends carried her to help and she spent several days in a Las Vegas Hospital, friends and family by her side.

Yet, she longed to be home. After surgeries to remove one eye and others to try to preserve some vision in the other, she was finally allowed to go home. Through the kindness of strangers she was flown back to California. Family and friends longed to do something and quickly organized a homecoming party. Balloons were bought, a banner printed, cards wrote and signs decorated. They came and shared stories about how amazing Chelsea is. They shared about how happy they were to have her home. The shared their concerns about the future and prepared themselves for how to move forward. Mostly though, they kept their eyes peeled for the car carrying their girl to come down the street.

Finally, a car turned the corner of the Widomar neighborhood to a tree lined with neighbors, friends and family. They clapped and cheered as they made their way into the driveway. News cameras gathered to get the story. Her children gathered to see their mama after a week of uncertainty. Hugs were given all around and everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. Chelsea was home. Her young son stood up tall and firmly grabbed his mom’s hand. He bravely led her into the house away from the noise and spotlight of the cameras.

Her friends gathered around her, embracing her and describing all that she could not see. They were all with her that fateful night and having her home was a big step in moving forward with their own healing. As they gathered around Chelsea, her dad mentioned how grateful they were that all these ladies made it back home. They have been friends for more years than he knew and the love he displayed for each was so touching. They were especially grateful to Kelsi, who despite being injured herself, carried Chelsea over a barrier to EMS, saving her life.

Friends and family continued this tenderness and care as she navigated the first few hours at home, supporting her and encouraging her along the way. Her mama instincts to reassure her children melted my heart and friends helped her touch and cuddle with each one.

Chelsea, friend and family – It was a true honor to document your homecoming. I repeatedly said how amazing it was to meet you all, even if I truly wish it was under different circumstances. They beauty of your love for one another and your determination to see the good in this tragedy was uplifting and a beautiful display of grace.

While there are many more images from the day her family has relayed her wishes that images showing the full extent of her injures not be shared. I will respect their wishes and privacy. Chelsea is doing well and doctors are hopeful she will regain some vision in her remaining eye. She is a mom of two and her life has been forever altered. If you are moved by her story and would like to help support her road to recover a Go Fund Me account is available. You can access it here.