It’s been a difficult couple of days for everyone, but nobody’s suffering can compare to what the survivors and the families of the victims are going through.
They’re coping with the aftermath in a variety of ways, including a moving poem written by Patience Carter, who was able to escape the nightclub with her life. She read the poem about her survivor’s guilt at an event this week. “It shows everything that I’m feeling right now,” she said, “and it’s a part of my healing process.”
Patience was on vacation in Orlando from her home in Philadelphia, and was in a wheelchair when she spoke to reporters. On the night of the shooting, she had actually made it outside of the nightclub when she realized that a friend was still inside. They rushed back to save her, then took shelter until police could rescue them. While they were hiding in a bathroom, the gunman shot both her legs.
This is probably one of the most productive ways to process all the emotion around this event — much better than what politicians are doing, using the shooting as an event to promote whatever ideology they think voters want to hear. If you’re feeling tempted to get into an argument about policy, or to shout at people on social media, maybe take a step back and look at how Patience is expressing how she feels.
Watch below, or scroll down if you’d like to read it:
— Joshua Chavers (@JoshuaChavers) June 14, 2016
Here’s what she wrote:
The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy.
Wanting to smile about surviving but not sure if the people around you are ready.
As the world mourns, the victims killed and viciously slain, I feel guilty about screaming about my legs in pain.
Because I could feel nothing like the other 49 who weren’t so lucky to feel this pain of mine.
I never thought in a million years that this could happen.
I never thought in a million years that my eyes could witness something so tragic.
Looking at the souls leaving the bodies of individuals, looking at the killer’s machine gun through out my right peripheral.
Looking at the blood and debris covered on everyone’s faces. Looking at the gunman’s feet under the stall as he paces.
The guilt of feeling lucky to be alive is heavy.
It’s like the weight of the ocean’s walls crushing uncontrolled by levies.
It’s like being drug through the grass with a shattered leg and thrown on the back of a Chevy.
It’s like being rushed to the hospital and told you’re gonna make it when you laid beside individuals whose lives were brutally taken.
The guilt of being alive is heavy.