When Tragedy Strikes

I know it’s been almost 2 weeks since the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It’s taken me a while to sort out my thoughts around it, and truthfully, they’re still not well sorted.I will never be able to wrap my head around how something so gut-wrenchingly terrible can happen. It’s just awful. All those beautiful people who went out to dance. To be free. To have fun. To be safe. 49 dead and many more injured – every single one, their lives forever changed. For me, I feel helpless and the sad truth is, I feel a bit numb to it all, wondering when/where will be next?

The Friday after the shooting in Orlando, I happened to have tickets to attend the Dixie Chicks concert in Hartford, Connecticut. It was an outdoor venue and a beautiful night with a beloved longtime friend. The temperature was perfect, the sky was beautiful, and the vibe was light and fun. We were singing and dancing, cheering and laughing, it was just so fun. I would be lying, however, if I didn’t look around at some point and think to myself that the feeling of lightness, joy and SAFETY is exactly what the people at Pulse felt. Until they didn’t. And the feeling that it could happen to anyone of us at any moment? Well, it’s pretty f-ing scary. And when the Chicks put up the sign below and Natalie introduced the final song of the evening, this cover of Ben Harper’s “Better Way” by saying “We only get to live one life and everyone should just get to be happy…” Well, I practically burst into tears.

My scientist husband talks to me about “the odds” of being involved in a mass shooting, and of course he’s right, they’re slim. But my worry isn’t actually about me (mostly), and it isn’t just that what has happened is jarringly terrible, it’s that these events just keep happening. And when they do, I find myself increasingly more desensitized to them. Which is beyond sad and frankly, a terrible feeling. I’m working to wake up from my own sense of numbness to violence by taking action.

And there are so many things to do:

  • Give blood. You may not live in Orlando, but many communities run short on supply and it’s relatively easy to do.
  • Give money or time. A quick google search can lead you to ways to support the families of the murdered and to help those drastically injured to recover.
  • Get active! Vote. Sign a petition that speaks to you. Write a letter to your local, city or state representative expressing your views on an issue that matters to you. Never forget they work for you.

And of course, tell people you love that you love them. Hug them. Call your mother. And if you can no longer call her, call someone else who loves you. Connect.Because to quote Lin-Manuel Miranda:  “When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day”

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