candles unsplashYou 49 beautiful dancing souls robbed of your innocence and lives in a steamy, sweat-filled nightclub with pulsating lights and a DJ spinning sexy music. Your candles extinguished without warning like a tornado hell-bent on destruction with no regard for humanity or hope.


You 53 beautiful dancing survivors spared by placement, timing, or luck hunkered in bathroom stalls, pretending to be dead, and shielding loved ones from the wrath of a maniac from hell amidst techno-pop acoustics and pulsating lights.


You 49 souls never to dance, sing, love, or create again. Your ashes scattered in the soil and ocean forming the marrow of the earth.


You 53 free to dance, sing, love or create again. Your flesh, blood, and bones fill the universe to behold a sunrise. A sunset. Cirrus clouds. Soft wind on your faces. 


You 49 free’d from your earthly constraints. Free’d from heartache, tears, rainbow-colored gelato on a sweltering summer day, and sweet dreams when you lay your head to rest.


You 53 shackled with your vivid memories and nightmares. Your survivor’s guilt. Yet emboldened by parades and prayers for peace, the rush of a newborn babe. Yet anguished from the cruelty of life that took up residence as a hollow space in your throbbing heart.


You 49 requiescat in pace. Remembered as angels. Remembered by lovers, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends, husbands, wives, children and strangers.


You 53 carry on with passion and verve, life and peace. Flowers and memorials. Healing. Faith. Hope.