It’s hard to believe it’s been six months. Six months since tragedy. Half a year since one single night changed everything in my small town. I have seen pain, as well as equal amounts of healing. I’ve felt the tears and anger well up inside at any given moment as the days ticked by. I cannot begin to attest to how anyone else feels…but today, I wanted to share how I feel about my Orlando, six months later.
When my brother was in town the other weekend, I decided to take us to visit Pulse. I wasn’t sure if either of us knew what to expect or even if we could handle it. It was both of our first time there since it happened, after all. I drove by, parked, and walked cautiously toward the formerly always bustling building. That day was different, of course. Here we stood, six months later…and it felt like the horror and pain was just yesterday.
Because while it wasn’t, it also was. Pain doesn’t just go away. Fear doesn’t dissipate just because you will it to be so.
The weight was heavy. Our hearts were full of emotion. The same sadness I felt on June 12 was palpable. But not only that, there was also anger. Frustration. On the flip side of the coin, there was also hope. My sarcastically silly heart still carries so much hope. This year. Oh this year! What a doozy. And here we are, 183 days later…I still don’t know the right emotion to feel. But at the end of the day, I think they are all ok. Hope, love, anger, sadness – they are feelings to be felt. And they should drive us toward the future. Love more; hate less.
If you were to walk by the memorial of Pulse today, you wouldn’t know how long it’s been – that it’s really been so many days since pain struck our beautiful town. The only reminders would be the weathering of flowers, small presents, signs, photographs, and all the love displayed across every. single. banner. Those notes remind you that we’re not down. We’re not out. And Orlando, six months later, is still my home. My beautifully non-perfect, full-of-joy, home.
Today, this beautiful new day – is for all of you. Spreading a little love today is what the world needs. Of course, we need it everyday, but especially today. I challenge you to tell someone something nice today, someone who you don’t normally speak to – or even a stranger. Tell them something good. And you might be surprised that you’ll feel that same joy, come right back to you. More love, less hate.
I heart you Orlando.