Today marks a year since the massacre at Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando.
The first anniversary of the death of someone you love is a milestone. One of those markers that you anticipate with dread, as though you were reliving the initial sting of the loss all over again. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of someone really close to you, you know what I mean.
When the loss happens suddenly, though, and through an act of violence, the sting is even more intense.
49 people lost their lives a year ago. All at once.
49 people who were somebody’s child, grandchild, sibling, niece, nephew.
49 stories that didn’t get told.
49 families and friends experienced the shock of a phone call in the middle of the night, with the worst news imaginable. They’ve grieved all year, while the rest of us went on with life.
For others, for those of us who didn’t know anyone personally who was killed, we thought, that could’ve been us in that club – or it could’ve been any number of friends we cherish.
I’m thankful for the faith communities who have held vigil in Orlando and other cities across the country, giving grieving loved ones a safe place to share their pain.
So today, when we know this is weighing heavily on the hearts of people around us – not just in Orlando, but everywhere – please remember. Please be kind and gentle. Please be ready to listen or sit in silence. Please be aware of the great opportunity we must not miss – to heal, to mend, to repair, to build bridges.
This could be a great conversation starter.
Or more importantly, a cup of cold water.