She’s awakened in the night by the shrill ringing of the land-line telephone. Her heart beats out of her chest as she fumbles in the dark for the hand-piece that will stop that horrible, scary noise if she can just find it and push the appropriate button.
There’s just something about a ringing telephone in the middle of the night that shoots a direct arrow of fear straight into the heart, and no amount of calming or reasoning after the fact ever seems to change that. No matter that half the time it’s a wrong number or a mis-dial, it will always be the same heart-knocking fear that makes you weak in the knees and causes falling back asleep to become a trial for at least an hour afterward.
But this call would not be a wrong number, it would however be the scariest, most horrible call of her lifetime. She answers the phone to hear sobbing voices, voices she is having difficulty discerning the owners of, partly because of the fogginess of sleep and because the voices that are broken in fear and sorrow are like none she is sure she has ever heard before.
It would be minutes before she would understand that it was a friend of her sons who was trying to communicate with her – convey to her - where they had been and what had happened. She could hear the words but she could not seem to grasp their real meaning. It was dark outside, it was 4am in the morning, and all she hears is talk about fun and dancing and music – and now possible death.
There would be broken sentences trying to communicate horrors about guns and death, blood and pain, and mostly still, uncertainty. Her son’s friends would not know where he was, whether among the dead in the floor waiting for identification or on route to the hospital to be saved/healed.
This is the call so many parents, friends, and families received this morning in the AM hours. Calls full of fear and uncertainty, or worse, positive identifications of death.
The FBI is once again calling this an ISIS related event – by a man they had previously (on record) tried to tie to other ISIS related events in the past but were unable to make a positive connection.
There is no doubt now, for anyone, who this man was or his intentions.
But I will tell you I have been watching the reports about this mass murder in Orlando, Florida all day long – the worst in United States history they state. And what I saw today was a change that I’m just not sure anyone else is giving enough credit.
I saw a line with reported numbers of 3000 plus people, all standing for hours to give/donate blood to the victims who are fighting to stay alive. Fifty plus LGBTQ people are still fighting for their lives and people – old/young/straight/heterosexual people – are standing in line to donate blood.
That one bright light gives me hope for the rest of us. And God knows we need one right now.