children · Friends · grief · LGBT · loss · Love · Shootings · The Pulse · Uncategorized

My daughter cried today.

My daughter cried today.  So hard I almost couldn’t understand what she was saying when I asked her to talk about it.  But I had to restart my own sentence because my own voice croaked.  I was crying too.  See, I listen to NPR on the way home with Sophie so that we can talk about world events.  I think it’s important to teaching her critical thinking and opens her mind to more than just Tallahassee.  Yesterday, I wish I didn’t put NPR on.

NPR ran a piece about The Pulse Shooting.  They interviewed the family members of victims.  I moved to change the channel and Sophie said “No.  Leave it on.”  So she heard it.  She heard about how one victim loved Salsa and Meringue dancing.  One was only 18 years old and had just graduated high school.  One of the victim’s mothers knew he’d be hungry after dancing, so she made him some tomato and cheese sauce to eat with chips when he got home.  Another one heard from her daughter during the shooting, that she was shot in the arm, and the mother kept telling herself “It’s only an arm wound.  She can survive that.”  The bullet went through the main artery in her arm.  She bled out before the police arrived.

Sophie listened to these things and we both cried, and when it was done I cut it off and we sat in silence for a minute before my voice was normal.  So I started to do what I always do with NPR stories, I started to ask her questions about it.

Me: “You okay, baby?”

Sophie: “Yeah.  I’m just really sad.”

Me: “Me too, baby.  I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have had it on.”

Sophie: “It’s okay.  It’s news and news is important. That’s why we listen to it.”

Me:  “Yeah, but still.  You wanna talk about it?”

Sophie: ~pause for a second~  “Yeah.  I do.”

Me: “Okay, do you understand what happened?”

Sophie: “A bad man went into a place where people were hanging out and shot them and then called the police and told them he was with ISIS (she knows what ISIS… remember we listen to NPR and talk regularly about the news).”

Me: “Yes.  That’s part of it.”

Sophie: “Lots of people died because of ISIS?”

Me: “No.  Remember when they said that the FBI was looking into him because he had claimed to be a member of a Shia terrorist organization once and then a Sunni terrorist organization the next time?  Those organizations hate each other.  He couldn’t be a member of both.  So they are looking into whether he was mentally sick and delusional.”

Sophie: “Delusional means what?”

Me: “He thought things were true that weren’t.  Like, if I believed I was a the queen of England… I’d be delusional.  I’d dress better, but still delusional.  The shooter believed some things that weren’t true.  He thought he was a terrorist fighting for Islam when Islam is about peace.  He thought he was fighting for ISIS when he was really out of his mind.”

Sophie: “Okay.”

Me:  “But do you understand who his victims were?”

Sophie: “Innocent people with moms and dads?”

Me: “Yes.  That is very true.  And sisters and brothers and boyfriends and girlfriends. But they were also mostly gay.”

Sophie: “So?”

Me: “So, the police are looking into whether he killed them because they were gay.”

Sophie: “Why?  Why would he kill someone for being gay?”

Me: “That’s a good question that I have a hard time understanding myself.  But some people don’t understand people that are different than them.  And rather than trying to get to know the people to better understand them, they fear or hate them.  People who are gay or lesbians or transgender…. you know what I mean by transgender? (We’ve had this talk about the bathroom issue in NC… NPR people.. helping educate the world one 8 year old at a time).”

Sophie: “Yes… people born in the wrong type of body that fix it with surgery.  Kind like if my liver goes bad or if I was born with the wrong body part, they’d fix it.”  (this kid has faced replacing a liver and fought off cancer.  She gets the whole “my body is betraying me” concept better than most.)

Me: “Yes.  Exactly.  Well people that are gay or lesbian or transgender, they are often treated with hatred and anger and sometimes violence by people who don’t understand and are so small minded they won’t try to understand or accept them.”

Sophie: “People don’t like gay people because they love someone like themselves?  Why would people care who other people love?  Gay people don’t make you love them, right?”

Me: ~laughing~ “No baby.  They can’t hypnotize you or anything silly like that. Though, you know we have some gay friends that we can’t help but love.”

Sophie: “I know.  Like Aunt Ginny and Aunt Megan.”

Me: “Yes. Like them.  And to answer you question, I don’t know why some people care who other people love.  No one cared that I fell in love with your daddy…. okay… well no one but Grandma and Grandpa and they got on the band wagon eventually. Anyways, it’s just some people.  Most people don’t care.”

Sophie: “Are people going to care who I fall in love with?”

Me: ~silence for a second~ “I don’t know baby.  You know I won’t care as long as they treat you well and I will make sure that people that do care and are hateful about it aren’t a part of your life.”

Sophie:  “Good.”

 

~silence for a couple of minutes.~

Sophie (really quiet): “So those people that were dancing were killed by someone that hated them because they loved.”

Me: ~kinda stunned~  “Yeah.  that’s pretty much it.”

Sophie:  “He wasn’t loved enough.  If he was, he wouldn’t have hated people for it.  He was probably jealous and wanted to be loved.”

Me: “That’s probably true.”

Sophie: “Will that happen to the gay people that we love?”

Me: ~trying to not cry again.~  “I certainly hope not.”

Sophie:  “It better not.”  ~in her stubborn, I’m-going-to-kick-ass voice~

Me: ~laughing~  “Amen, sister.”

 

My little girl sees the world so much clearer than the rest of us.  Why do people hate other people because they love someone?  Why hate someone for love?

For my LGBT friends out there.  We love you.  Please stay safe and if you want to talk, call me.  You matter so much to us.  ❤

 

 

 

Image courtesy of saphatthachat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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