I just can’t sleep. For what seems like a million sad and scary reasons. I laid down with my twin boys tonight. Their heads nestled up next to my shoulders. We talked about today and tomorrow, and then they fell asleep. I wanted to lay there with them and protect them. From Orlando. From the hurt of this world. The things that I just can’t begin to explain to their tiny ears. So, I cupped my giant hands around one of each of their ears as if I could shelter them from my thoughts. The thoughts that won’t stop because it all hits so very close to home. Too close. Fear doesn’t knock. It barges in. And it has the powerful ability to take over.
I can’t stop thinking about how many nights my friends and I went out dancing in college and the years after. To bars, to dance clubs, to music venues. In Nashville, in Panama City, in the Bahamas, in Lawrence, in Kansas City. I remember getting ready, driving downtown, listening to our favorite music. Laughing. I never once remember fearing for our lives. I never once thought, “we could die tonight.” Because that would have just been absurd or ridiculous.
But not anymore. Not after Orlando.
I can’t stop thinking about all of the innocent victims, their families, the bystanders, the police officers, the paramedics, the nurses, the physicians. What they have all witnessed that they will forever carry with them. The community. Everybody. I can’t stop thinking about all of their mothers. And that’s when I just don’t want to let go of my boys. Ever. Surely they should never venture into this unpredictable, scary world alone. Without me or their dad.
Because it’s one thing to be affected by an illness or disease, and to wait to be seen by a physican in the emergency department to try and figure out if you’re going to be okay. But it’s a totally heart breaking and suffocating other thing to know how many lives are being taken because of one wreckless human being violently stealing another’s beautiful life away. I can’t begin to wrap my head or my heart around how people can destroy other people. How can we not see another human being as someone’s child, someone’s mother, someone’s wife, someone’s best friend or someone’s brother?
My boys love catching lightning bugs in the summer. I have a hard time letting them keep lightning bugs locked up in their bug boxes overnight because it seems unfair. I think they should be flying in the night sky. That’s why they’re so beautiful. Because they are free. They brighten up the summer nightime sky. So, to begin to understand how a man can go into a night club and trap and kill, injure and forever damage so many human lives is beyond my comprehension. I know I have to focus on the helpers. All of those sacrificing to help and bring hope with their two hands. All of them. Like the ones waiting in line for hours to donate blood. I know I have to reach out to the ones I love so dearly and let them know how much they matter to me and my family. I know that. I know that we have to love harder and push the fear away. We cannot be trapped. By hate or fear. Or violence. This I know.
I will keep praying for Orlando. And I will keep trying to teach, protect and love on my children in a way that honors the victims, especially the mothers who had to let go. The ones whose babies grew up and wanted to go hang out with some friends. To all of the ones who ache with a pain that I’ve witnessed and can imagine, but hate to. It steals the air from my lungs. It makes me want to throw up. And it makes tears fall too fast to try and wipe them away.
We’re grieving with you. I hope you will look up and see us in the darkness, occasionally lighting up the night sky.