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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It's About Respect and Compassion

If this isn’t the post you’re expecting, and you don’t want to read it, feel free to pass it up. I just need to get this out of my head where it’s been rolling around for the last few days.

Please know this post is NOT meant to be about ME, although I will mention myself and my feelings. 

No, this post is about grieving families and what I see as disrespect on social media.

It's about 49 men and women who lost their lives. It's about 53 people who survived something SO horrible that most of us cannot even imagine it. It's about hundreds of people whose lives were forever altered on a fateful Saturday night in an Orlando nightclub. It's about all the loved ones and friends who got the Text, the Call or saw a news brief and felt their hearts drop into their stomachs.

It's about respect and it's about compassion.

I got the text late Sunday night, it was my youngest daughter informing me that her cousin Christopher Andrew “Drew” had been at the Club Pulse in Orlando the night before. Drew’s boyfriend (Juan) had been removed from the club earlier and had died of injuries from the shooting, but Drew had still not been found.

I rarely watch the news and try to stay off social media on the weekends but I quickly jumped online where I saw Drew’s mom tearfully begging for information about her son.

I didn’t KNOW Drew, although I had met him and his mom briefly many years ago when my husband and I dropped my youngest off for a family visit.  So yes, I had met Drew, but didn’t know him or his mom like my daughter did.

But I KNEW my daughter loved him and I knew of him from stories she had shared with me.

Needless to say, I slept very poorly Sunday night, as I prayed for Drew and other victims as well as their grieving families, including my daughter. The next morning we still knew very little, except that Drew was still missing. I saw, as many of you did, Christine all over the news, a mother, desperate for information regarding her son. Even though we aren’t friends and had only met briefly, my heart ached for her and every other person involved in the tragedy.

Eventually on Monday the word came that Drew had died in the club. Since it wasn’t my pain or grief to share, I waited for my daughter to post something. True to herself, she posted a photo of her and Drew when they were very young, with the caption, “My cousin Christopher Andrew was full of love, please don't use tragedy and grief to spread fear and hate.” I love my daughter, she is wise beyond her years that one.

And yet, all I saw being posted was fear and hate. The gun advocates not wanting their second amendment rights violated, anti-gun people calling for gun bans, it filled me with sadness and if I’m honest, also with anger.

Did they not get it? I asked myself.

People were dead, their fellow Americans grieving for children, sisters, brothers, cousins who they will never talk to again. Mothers and fathers who will NEVER hug their child. And yet all people were doing was shoving their agendas down people’s throats.

Is there NO RESPECT for what these families are going through? 49 people were slaughtered early in the morning on Sunday June 12, 2016 and hundreds (if not thousands more) will never be the same. Can you not put aside your personal fears for a few minutes to allow those left behind the opportunity to grieve the loss of their loved ones?

Do you not have the compassion to allow them to sign into Facebook to find a favorite photo of their loved one, to get comfort from friends and family at a distance, or to just for one fucking second take their mind off a deep and horrifying loss, without seeing their feed clogged up with Memes and posts sharing your point of view?

Am I saying we shouldn’t be having these conversations? Absolutely not; I believe we should. I think we should be having those hard conversations, with our children and families and loved ones. And I think we should be having these conversations with our senators and representatives. (Key point here people, you hold the cards, if you don't like how THEY'RE voting, VOTE THEM OUT.)

There are many, many things wrong with this country and we all have our own causes that are near and dear to us, so yes, for God’s sake, have the conversations, but please be respectful when having them, listen to the ones sharing their views, hear what they say. 

AND for the love of everything you hold dear, get off Facebook, hold your loved ones close, take a walk with your significant other, read a story to your child, call a friend you haven't talked to in a while. Above all, tell them you love them, because as recent events show, life is short and tomorrow is not promised.

Peace 

While I try to have an open policy with comments on this blog, negative or mean comments will be deleted. There is a nice and respectful way to disagree with someone and if you can’t do that here, move along.