Today I went to a client’s house. She’s a 90 year old lady and my job with her today was to assist her with getting dressed and helping her apply some creams to her legs. Pretty stock standard job, nothing complicated or overly fancy. But it was one of the most heart wrenching and emotional visits I’ve ever had.
I walked into her home. She was sitting on her recliner lounge, covered in about 40 blankets, watching the news. I greeted her cheerfully (and loudly) and she smiled reluctantly back at me. She got up and I explained what we were doing this morning.
She looked at me sadly and said “have you seen the news this morning?”
“Briefly!” I replied, still being super cheery “I quickly checked my Facebook this morning while eating breakfast…”
“Fifty people have been shot.” She looked at me, a tear running down her face. “Fifty people. Fifty people’s children, friends, family. Fifty. Because…they were gay.”
I looked at her stunned, I had briefly discussed it this morning with my husband but I was running late for work and didn’t really get time to give it a lot of thought.
“Why would anyone shoot someone because they’re gay?” She asked me, looking at me desperately for some sort of answer. Something so that she could make sense of it all.
“I don’t know.” I replied, stupidly. Because I had no answers. “It’s not okay. It’s awful…”
“People are different.” She continued, “everyone is different. You can’t shoot someone because they’re different. It doesn’t make sense.”
“No. It doesn’t.” I replied. I held her hand as she cried for all the lives lost. I sat with her as she cried for fifty people she doesn’t know, but felt the pain of their families loss. A woman who has lived almost a century, who has lost loves, who has survived war, who has seen so much over the years. We felt the pain together this morning.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to fix the world and I don’t know how America should go about fixing it’s gun issues. I don’t know how to ‘beat’ terrorism, if that’s what this was. But I do know that hate is not the answer. Building walls, persecuting people’s beliefs and assuming everyone is the same is not the answer. Throwing out your Vegemite and boycotting brands is not the answer. “Bombing all of them” is not the answer. Fear is not the answer. More guns is probably not the answer either. Blaming the “gay marriage agenda” is most certainly not the answer (seriously…what the fuck is wrong with people?? Who says that after 50 people just lost their lives).
This morning we felt the pain for the families and friends of those 50 people who were lost to an act of cowardice. Who’s lives were cut short because someone thought they had the right to take the life of another person. Because they felt hate and fear towards people they don’t know. Because they wanted people…us…to feel that fear and hate as well towards other people. To start fights, to start wars, to create terror. The reasons why don’t really matter. Because it’s just not okay.
My heart and thoughts and love go out to all of the people who have lost loved ones in this horrible act. I’m so deeply saddened and sorry for your loss.