On the Loss of Life

My original post was going to be another piece on my professional journey, specifically my decision to attend University of Michigan.

But then Orlando happened.

A tragedy beyond words, with many layers of pain, carnage, and loss. Wondering whether this country will ever get a grip, I struggle to imagine the loss of life from this senseless tragedy. Not only the amount of death and injury, which the term “loss of life” usually describes, but the seismic pain and open wounds in the hearts of friends, families, and acquittances of those who lost someone in their lives. What about their loss of life?

Most of Pulse mass shooting victims were young adults, on that feverish cusp between juvenility and maturity, who were gathered to party have a good time, and indulge in life in a safe space. From what I’ve read, Pulse was not just a night club, but a community center where young LGBTQ POC gathered to celebrate with friends, lovers, new acquittances, and dates.

The sudden loss of youth is so traumatic, blunt in impact and sharp in its cruelty, that it takes your breath away. Friends, mothers, father, loved ones, co-workers, and acquittances must grapple with this wrenching tragedy that has suddenly punctured and deflated their lives.

There are many loose ends and unearthed beginnings…

The mother of the young man who was finally gaining his sense of self and hitting his stride. All she had earned was given to him, as she had dedicated her life to give him opportunity for a fulfilled life. Perhaps, she had told him to “Be safe but have a good time” that night….
The sister who did not get talk her brother to tell him that she was sorry for missing his FaceTime calls the past week. Work had gotten so busy that would return home late and too exhausted to call back, but she wanted to let him know that his calls were not in vain. She loved him. That Saturday she called back, hoping that he was not out partying and too busy to answer…
The co-worker who lost his office-mate, confidant, and his ally — a true homegirl who had his back in this new city. They had made plans for the following Monday to grab lunch so he could hear about her time at Pulse. He wanted to come out that but did not because he was feeling blue …
And maybe the father of the man who had finally mustered up the courage to go to Pulse, his first gay bar, where he could he himself. Perhaps the father saw his son’s name online or got a phone call — the truth is still confusing, along with the overwhelming sense of sadness…

My heart goes out to my LGBTQ friends and family, and to the greater community — you are loved and valued. This was an attack on humanity and our best bet is to find solace in community. So while we face an immense loss of life, we do not face a loss of love.