A few of us went to a local church service this morning before the Family Assistance Center (FAC) opened. Even though I’m an avid news-reader, I have not been reading the news on this horrible event and only learning details from the kids. But I have to tell you, the church put the names of the 49 victims up on the front screen for people to spend time in prayer and that was the first time I had seen the names all together- I was genuinely and completely shocked at how many names were up there. It took my breath away. The number 49 doesn’t capture the magnitude of this event. I read the names and could identify some of them and could picture the faces of the children we’ve met and the stories they’ve shared.
The Red Cross does a daily briefing each morning before the Family Assistance Center (FAC) opens, and they report on details and tasks. They reported that the FAC has welcomed and helped 642 individuals and 266 families so far who were significantly affected by this tragedy. These are the victims’ families, the injured, and also those who were at Pulse that night (both staff and patrons) who were not injured. Many of them suffered emotional trauma as well as needing assistance with lost valuables including wallets and keys. The cars in the parking lot were also unable to be retrieved easily due to the crime scene itself and the media waiting by the cars to talk to anyone who came to retrieve them. So, the FAC developed a plan for retrieving those cars and returning them to the individuals.
Those numbers of the families we have served… they are huge. But I can’t let go of that feeling when I saw those 49 names all together: that the numbers just don’t capture the true magnitude and impact of this event.