When my sister was 39 years old, she died.
It was an unexpected, life-shattering event that hit me hard enough to take my breath away for months. For three long years I walked around in a fog, faking emotions I couldn't feel.
Within a few short days of her death, my family gathered - my parents, siblings, nephews and cousins - trying to comprehend the incomprehensible and face the inevitable funeral.
I remember the sharp, aching hurt in my heart that just wouldn't go away, and the tears that flowed as we all got together. Nobody knew the proper way to act, the correct things to say. It freaking HURT. I couldn't handle the pain of the moment. The idea of continuing my life without Deb to talk to, to laugh with, and to help me see that I wasn't all that bad of a person felt absolutely unbearable.
How could I possibly do it?
And then there was the battle to understand why. Why did it have to happen? Why was I going through that? Why? Why? Why?
As those events unfolded and I struggled to wrap my mind around all of it, I realized that I would never wish that kind of pain on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
I cannot fathom the kind of hatefulness that drives anyone to take the life of another human being. My heart aches for the families of the victims in Florida this week, and the families of every other life that has been unexpectedly taken. I know what they are going through. They are struggling to make sense of what has happened. They are trying to figure out how to live lives that will never be the same again. They are wondering if anything will ever fill that void in their hearts.
And I feel sickened by every single social media comment that attempts to politicize or capitalize on these events. We can't be so eager to prove a point that we can coldly make memes and trendy posts about the "50 victims", can we? That descriptor is so cold and unfeeling, it allows us to ignore the fact that those people had lives, names, hopes, dreams, families, and futures. And they leave behind a significant number of people who will be walking around in a fog for a long time to come, wishing it was all a mistake or nightmare and that they would wake up and find it wasn't true.
My heart aches for all of them, and I hope friends and followers of the Torch, and everyone else, would stand up and attempt to stop ANYONE who tries to capitalize on the lives of these human beings.