I will make no attempts at lightheartedness today. My heart is too sad. Our country must grapple with yet another devastating loss of life. It is unfathomable—yet all too familiar.

Hate was the ammunition used to gun down dozens of people yesterday in Orlando, Florida. So much hate. Though I know anger, and I know dislike, I can’t even begin to comprehend being filled with that level of venom and violence.

But when I watch the video of the mom weeping and wondering whether or not her son is alive…that I can viscerally comprehend. It is a mother’s worst fear—and 49 moms are now experiencing it because of this tragedy. It makes my stomach flip and my heart ache.

You’re not supposed to go out for a night of dancing and end up dead.

You’re not supposed to be someone’s target because you have a lifestyle that is different from them.

No one is supposed to be able to walk into a building and have the fire power to take 49 lives and injure even more within minutes.

And yet.

And yet it happens over and over again.

This tragedy is being called the “biggest mass killing” in our country’s history. I fear some deranged person will see that as a record to break. Focusing on the number makes the victims a quantity. But they are individual people with families and friends and lives that were meant to play full out—not prematurely end by a man consumed with hatred.

So let’s focus on who they are. The city of Orlando is sharing the names of those lost after their families have been notified. The list is incomplete. At the time of this writing, there are 36 victims on the list. There will be more loss to absorb.

For now, let us remember and pray for the families of…

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Kimberly Morris, 37
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Amanda Alvear, 25
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
Cory James Connell, 21
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Luis Daniel Conde, 39
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25

Senseless loss. Utterly senseless.

In 2012, I wrote about the Sandy Hook massacre. I am re-sharing it here because what I said then still holds true for me now. The first graders lost in Newtown, Connecticut should be around 10 right now…instead they’ve been gone for years.

There is no sense to be made of this.

Making Non-Sense

Originally posted December 12, 2012

Though The Juggle Struggle aims to be a generally lighthearted and hopefully humorous blog, I just can’t bring it today.

Often what we juggle as people isn’t the least bit lighthearted. Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Dawn, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Anne Marie, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin, and Allison aren’t here anymore. Their lives—so many of them only just beginning—snuffed out by one person’s unfathomable actions. And their families and loved ones are dealing with devastating losses that have forever changed them. I, like the rest of the world, am struggling to deal with the recent horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

I struggle with my feelings of both deep sorrow and fierce anger.

I struggle with what to tell my child about such an abominable event, knowing I can’t protect him completely from the harsh and bitter realities that life sometimes presents.

I struggle with what this all means in our world, and what we need to do to make it harder for another lost soul to wreak such havoc.

I struggle with feelings of helplessness.

And I struggle with the guilt of knowing my life will absorb this blow a lot differently than the parents of the 20 children who watched all the other families get reunited with their kids while they waited…and waited…and then were told that their little one was dead. My heart breaks over and over again as I try to put myself in their shoes.

The families of the heroic adult victims, too, are also dealing with such painful loss.

So where do we go from here?

I’m not really sure, but I know that in today’s rabid hyper media attention of such tragedies, I am thankful that one of the aspects they are reporting on is that the Newtown area is steeped in faith. And though faith won’t “explain away” such horror, I believe it is what sustains us and is the foundation to rebuilding broken lives. And hearing our president, as he offered his sympathies, quote Psalm 147—reminding us that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”—was something I needed to hear in that moment.

Though I don’t fancy myself to have “the” answers, I do know that we need to be better to one another. We need to love and listen. We need to give and support. We need to forgive and remember. We need to work together to provide a safer world for all of us.

And we need to remember that life is a gift and not a guarantee.

 

ALL PHOTOS ARE MY OWN OR USED WITH PERMISSION.
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