My family and I were all packed into the car on our way to church yesterday morning. We happily chatted about heading off to the pool and celebrating my mom’s birthday, then we got a phone call.
The call was from my husband, who drove separately, and I picked it up on my bluetooth so we could all talk to him. “Did you hear about what happened in Orlando?” he asked. I could tell that the news was bad. His voice sounded ominous and heavy. “No…what?” I braced myself for the news. “There was a shooting, 50 are dead and even more than that are injured, this is the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.”
Everyone in the car was silent. I have four children ranging in age from 15 to 3, it takes quite a lot for there to be silence but even my 3-year-old could hear the devastation in his dad’s voice. Just like that the joy of the day was gone and sadness washed over the car. The fun conversation turned into a discussion about tragedy, heartbreak, terrorism and devastation.
Of course the first question out of my sweet 6-year-old’s mouth was “why?”
What kind of answer could I give her? Because he was a hateful, sick individual? Because he was mentally unstable? I didn’t know Omar Mateen, I didn’t know what was in his heart and mind when he committed this heinous act, I do know that now my children are scared and I’m scared for my children.
The questions flowed and I tried my best to answer them without further frightening my kids. We visit Orlando often and love it there. Now my kids are scared. They are scared to go places where there are a lot of people, more scared of strangers than ever before, and for what? Some coward, who walks into a club and wreaks havoc on the entire nation.
As a parent I’ve tried my best to teach my children to show love and respect to all and some of my hard work was undone. Undone by a man, or should I say monster, that I have never met. You disgust me, Omar Mateen.
Who are you to force this kind of conversation on families across the nation? Who are you to take the lives of people and bring so many families to this much pain. You are where you belong now. Your judgment day has come, but the devastation and side effects of your decisions will be felt for some time to come.
I can only pray that our nation will become more unified through this terrible tragedy. We will come together, love one another and turn our backs to all the hate and cowardice. I will talk to my children and try to undo some of the damage.
We cried with you today, Orlando. You’re in our hearts and our minds.