I feel as if I’ve spent an entire week crying; weeping out my anguish first for the betrayal of the mothers who once welcomed me, and today for the physical manifestation of that self-same hate.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, a shooter tore up Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 and injuring at least 53 more. This was a racist, queerphobic, and transphobic attack. The nightclub is a primarily Latinx gay nightclub, and that night the headliners included a trans performer of color.
I spent a good portion of this morning crying before I even had a chance to shower or grab coffee. After showering I crawled back into bed and cried on the arm of my husband, who hugged me and listened to me rage. Whatever I had hoped to do today evaporated in a mist of sorrow. I distracted myself a few times, successfully, by doing housework or playing stupid video games. But inevitably, I was drawn back to the news cycle on Facebook and Twitter, retweeting endlessly and sharing whatever I could, wanting to feel something other than a depthless fear, anguish, and ineffectualness.
I decided partway through the day that I’d do a ritual tonight, to the Three, to Brighid, the Morrigan, and Manannan Mac Lir — to my queer Sacred Triad. I didn’t know what I was going to do until right before I did it, when I loaded the names of the dead onto my cell phone and stood before my shrine with a can of apple cider. I lit Their three candles and invoked Them; I offered my cider to Them to sustain Them and to connect us, and then I drank some myself. I offered up my tears and my grief and my rage, and then I prayed: for healing for all of us, queer brothers and sisters and non-binary siblings, and especially for the families and loved ones of the victims.
I prayed for strength and courage that we might continue fighting, that we might never let the fear beat us back into obscurity. I prayed that those who were murdered find peace in the afterlife, and know that they are loved, they are missed, and that we will continue on and we will not forget them. I prayed for the presence of my gods throughout this time, that They might guide us and help us with what needed to be done. And I read the names of the dead, and prayed for each of them to find peace, and prayed for peace for those yet to be identified. I said “Our grief is not a cry for war, and what cannot be said will be wept.”
And I sobbed. I cried through it all, unable to stop the breaking of my heart.
Again I offered up my rage and anger and sorrow, asking that the Three do something with it all because I did not know what to do anymore. And I offered more cider, topping up Their glasses, and finishing off the can myself. The candles still burn, and when they burn down, I will empty the glasses of cider in the drain, letting the spirits of decay have it.
Soon we will have dinner, and I will try to distract myself further with the mundanity of our lives. I will likely cry myself to sleep tonight, and tomorrow I will re-dedicate myself to never letting the flame go out.
I will continue to kindle the flames of understanding, awareness, love, acceptance, and ass-kicking compassion. I will keep speaking my truth, even when my voice shakes. I will stop living in fear.
I will do these things tomorrow.
Tonight is for the dead. Tonight is for tears and mourning. Tonight is time to grieve, and when we get through the darkness, the sun will shine bright on a new day, Brighid’s light and warmth and love giving us the strength and healing necessary to go on.