Day 6: Wheelchairs and Boo-boo’s

We have been seeing a lot more of those who are injured coming to the Family Assistance Center.  This is likely due to the fact that they are starting to be discharged from hospitals.  Some come in wheelchairs and many with all sorts of bandages.  And they come supported by their friends and families.  It was Latino Night at the Pulse, and many individuals who were killed or injured are Latino.  There is a strong family and extended family support and that shows in the children’s play and words.

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We are starting to see a difference with the kids who are coming since we are seeing more of the kids from those who have survived now.  There is a little less of a focus on grief and loss in their play and discussion and more of a focus on family, fears, and insecurities.   The fears are about potential dangers at every turn and fears of another family member being hurt or killed by some other bad person.  It was amazing to watch and hear how my teammates supported some of these kids in significant ways today.

One little boy I spent time with at a different location per the request of the parent, communicated through his play that he wasn’t sure his loved one’s “boo-boo’s” that he saw would ever heal.  ….but to anyone watching us play, they would have thought it was all fun based on how loud he laughed and giggled and seemed to completely enjoy what we were doing together.  I love how kids are kids, and I love how their real thoughts are often a mystery to adults, unless we stop and listen a tiny bit deeper.  I also still can’t believe I get the privilege to be the one to listen deeply right now.

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The large hospital system a block away from Pulse has 49 crosses out front.  Each one has a name, a red heart, and a picture of that person.  Balloons, flowers, and notes are all around left by mourners, and that spot has become a gathering place for many at all hours.