I can still feel MY Pulse




Reflecting back on the tragedy that hit our town on June 12, 2016.

My family, like many out there, is mourning and afraid of rifle-wielding men. Like mine, many families are supporting the Orlando community and to witness the love is eye opening and uplifting.  However, not all families feel this as deep as we do. You see, I am a lesbian, I am a Latina, but that’s not all I am. I am also a mother to two beautiful girls and wife to an amazing woman. I am a loyal friend. I am a loving daughter. I am a family woman and my family is the LGBTQ community. While many feel a sense of loss and grief for our city, I feel, in MY bones, the wounds of my brothers and sisters who were injured and murdered in cold blood.  

I woke up on Sunday (June 16, 2016) to calls and texts asking if we were safe. My daughters were worried, texting and seeking reassurance that their moms were home and not on a gurney or in a body bag. My heart broke when I saw our 12 year old’s text “Mommy, are you okay?” Text messages don’t convey tone, but I felt her panic. I sat there shaking, in disbelief. I couldn’t type or call  fast enough, my brain wouldn’t allow it. I thank the Universe for the genius who created the Facebook safety check-in. I sat there, holding my breath, as I saw people I know checking in and wept for those who hadn’t – for hours.

We live Downtown, less than a mile from Pulse and most bars and clubs, and now I don’t feel safe, which is alien to me. I couldn’t attend the vigil and as I taught a yoga class, I wept on my mat for the dead and injured, I wept in fear of a second gunman driving by and spraying bullets all over my wife and friends who were there. Even so, I won’t let fear consume me anymore. I will hit the pavement in support of love, I will be part of human chain links to protect families and victims from protesters spewing hate, and I will not stop.  I will use fear as fuel to drive me even more because I may be afraid of many things but I have never been afraid to love and I will not start now.

Thinking of Pulse breaks my heart; we have gathered there with friends, we have danced our butts off on that dance floor, we have laughed til it hurt on that very patio, soulmates have found each other there, and so much more. I look back on pictures of those happy times and every time I am left with such a gut wrenching feeling. I know every inch of that bathroom where so many hid and lost their lives, the fence many jumped and the DJ booth where my  ex brother-in-law was working that night. It could have been me inside Pulse and while I don’t know the ones who perished, they are me. They are my community, they are my people.


What I want everyone to understand is this: Don’t see this as a “gay club shooting.” See it as what it truly is – a CLUB SHOOTING. These are not “gay” people, that is not just who they are. They are  human beings and most importantly, they are LOVED. They are young lives that have been cut short; young lives that will live with pain none of us could ever imagine.  The damage is done. There is no way to fix what has been irreparably broken. All we can do is stand together, without labels or prejudices; hold each other’s hands, make our hometown a safer place, and teach our children to love everyone. Time is passing us by. Let’s rise up and be better than ever. We are not defined by what happened, we are not the home of the biggest mass shooting. We have always been The City Beautiful and now we are The City Beautiful Full of Hope, Love and Resilience. Let’s rebuild the shattered bones of our hometown. Let’s dance freely on every dance floor and the only blood I want to see on our feet is from shoes that couldn’t handle our moves.


  1. No child should ever have to worry if their parent has been shot. How horrible! I have to admit, I’ve never been in favor of gun control before this slaughter at the club. I’m still in favor of the 2nd amendment and private gun ownership, but something about this event triggered a change in me. I think we SHOULD have limits on guns that have no practical purpose for hunting, target practice, etc. It really shouldn’t be so easy for anyone to walk in to a gun store and walk out with something that can kill so many people so quickly. So, if there is anything good to come from this deadly event, maybe it is that there are more people out there like me. Maybe more of us have changed our minds and want to make it just a bit more difficult for potential killers to buy their weapons.

    • I love you more!! I actually found your voicemail from Sunday last night. It broke my heart to hear you so worried. I’m sorry!! I love you!!

  2. Hi Lulu, you are absolutely right we should not be afraid to walk on our own streets, wr should not be limited to do and enjoy the things we like, I am not a lesbian but have very close family member who is gay and lost 2 of his closest friends and I can not imagine the pain that everyone suffered that night and still are, we expect to loose people of old age not while they still have their whole life ahead of them. I have lived in Orlando now for 26 years and I will not changed it for anything it for anything in the world. No gunmen is going to make me leave home and We should all stand together and let everyone know that they will not bring us down but instead they will unite us even more. Whatbhappened sunday morning will remain with us for the reat of our lives and we will continue to stay together and fight together!!!!

  3. This. So much this. The first person I called frantically that morning was you. No answer, I left a sobbing probably unrecognizable voicemail that I knew you would never listen to but I left it anyway. I waited five minutes and called back, went straight to voicemail. I took a breath and called Nay who told me you were teaching a yoga class. I was relieved but knew I had to keep calling others that might have been there. This was a panic like no other I’ve ever experienced in my life. I spent about 2 hours calling, texting, responding, and waiting. Helicopters were overhead, we turned on the news and immediately I sank to the floor and the tears began to stream down my face. I always feel the pain of this heartbreak whenever there is a mass shooting, terror attack, or natural disaster. I’m an empath who feels what others feel. I get enraged every single time I see the news of the next shooter or bomber or terror attack. All if this is so utterly senseless to me and I can’t understand it. But this time it was my city, it was my family, it was my community and it was my neighborhood. I live a mile from Pulse. I work less than 3 blocks from Pulse. I went to Pulse not even two months ago with 15 of my loved ones. I was not injured by the bullets of a person so deeply pained by his own self loathing and inner conflict. I was injured by his lack of compassion and humanity. I was struck to my very core and shaken that this could ever happen in the place where I grew up or any place for that matter. In the wake of all of this, we struggle with understanding the why’s and how’s and how could this happen’s. We struggle with the fears of going out in public, of holding our wife’s hand, of being anywhere that this could happen again which lets face it, could be absolutely anywhere. But here is something we can try to understand and empathize with. We know what it’s like to have inner conflict about who we are and our sexuality. We know what it’s like to be outcasted by those that are supposed to love us unconditionally. Maybe we can use these fears like you said as fuel to be more loving, compassionate, understanding, caring, giving, and empathetic so that perhaps someone who was feeling these intense emotions can see what it feels like on the other side of hatred, self loathing, and disgust. There are lessons here for us all in unexpected places. The growth and transformative powers of tragedy are overwhelming. Just to see the thousands of helpers from all over the world that came and did what they could restores my faith. The hundreds that showed love in the face of hatred, compassion in the face of cowardice and unity in the face of tragedy are truly heroic people walking the talk. This is the balm that we need to begin healing. We are closer, we are stronger, we are loving kindness, we are united, we are compassion and we are one human family.

  4. This was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes! Our mutual friend Beth introduced me to your blog – so happy to find it. Keep loving and keep dancing!


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