Not MY Orlando…

I will never forget that Sunday morning, a year ago.  I woke up to such chaos and sadness on my tv…and I simply waited….to hear where this was taking place…Not My Orlando.  The memory alone has me tearing up all over again as I type…. The news anchors…they were so sad…. “….Pulse Nightclub….downtown Orlando….shooting….dead…injured….. many taken to hospitals….

Not MY Orlando.

Friends waiting to hear if/where their loved ones are…. There was this one mom…she couldn’t find her son. He wasn’t answering his phone…. I felt like I was waiting with her.  I remember looking at my baby sleeping and silently thanking God through my tears.  I remember thinking how my older one was peacefully sleeping in her room…no clue as to what had happened.  Then I started thinking of who I knew…that could have possibly been there that night…so I sent texts: “I just want to know you’re o.k.”.   The replies came in, “yes I’m fine. I wasn’t there…but I lost a friend…”  tears.  What caused this?  What could have POSSIBLY triggered such an act?  What did any of them do to YOU?  They simply went out to celebrate…have fun….and YOU stopped it.  stopped them.  why?

…hours later and that mom was still waiting… her son still hadn’t answered his phone…

so many phones ringing…  I remember one of the news anchors saying this….imagining the first responders on scene…hearing the phones ringing.  tears.   As the day went on, the count increased.  I think I cried with each new face that went up on that tv screen.  I remember driving to work that Monday… the air felt different…the closer I got to Orlando that morning, the darker the clouds seemed…the quieter the streets felt…. driving through…there was just a heaviness.  that day, social media posted even more faces….and I cried again.  I raised one of my kids here for some years.  Any of her friends could have been there…. this is our Orlando.  I remember she brought one of her friends to me…the friend sat and said “mom…I think I’m bisexual”  and I asked “does your mom know” and she basically said “no, I can’t tell her this…she wouldn’t accept me…I need to figure this out”  and I simply said “o.k…. eventually you’ll have to tell her.  but until then, just know, I will NEVER look at you sideways or think any less of you.”

Orlando strong.

Is.

People strong.

Is.

Support Strong.

One year later.  and I’m crying at the thought…the memory.  So I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of those who lost their loved ones. ORLANDO STRONG.  posted high and often.  Worn with PRIDE.  ORLANDO STRONG.  you see it.  you hear of it.  but to see it…. it’s different thing all together.

Orlando is strong.

   ORLANDO STRONG.

MY ORLANDO IS STRONG.

The other day…the bombing at the concert in England….Another mom waiting to hear from her daughter…couldn’t contact her…cell phone ringing…. I cried…I heard myself say “this is Pulse all over again.” …kids, gathered up to enjoy themselves…have a great time…and then…. 

I don’t think I have much more to say…or maybe I have too much to say…. but I know I have to stop now… because…. tears…. and I have work to do…. and I need to be able to see what I’m doing.  Can’t do this  through tears….not today.

Orlando Strong

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