People always talk about giving their lives for their children, and in the case of one Orlando survivor, it was actually the case.
The funerals following the devastating massacre at Pulse nightclub have been taking place since the end of last week, and now one of the many heroes that helped save lives during the attack, Brenda McCool, was laid to rest on Monday. Her son, who McCool protected with her own body when Mateen opened fire, delivered a heart-wrenching eulogy.
At her funeral, McCool's son Isaiah Henderson broke down in tears, needing the support of his uncle and brother to express his love for his mother, and the tragedy of her loss.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that he told those in attendance, "I never thought her life would be ended right in front of my eyes." He continued to say of his mother, who had 11 children, and had survived cancer twice. "Everybody who knew my mom knew she was the mom everybody wanted. She always took everybody in with open arms. She loved everybody equally, no matter what," he said. He then broke down and had to recompose himself to continue, "I didn't want to speak, because I knew this was going to happen. But I knew I would have regretted it if I never spoke."
All 11 of her children came to pay their respects to their mother, watching in tears as 49 white balloons were released following the memorial service. One of her other sons, Farrell Marshall Jr., said, "You have to pay attention to certain moments in your life. You go from seeing your own mother smiling to seeing her in a coffin."
Her brother, Michael Marquez Jr., said the loss of his sister has left a hole in his house, but he said there is sure to be more dancing in heaven, now that McCool has passed. "Tell Jesus to step up his salsa game," he joked.
McCool loved dancing, especially salsa. McCool has been hailed as a hero of the attack, as she saved her son's life by telling him to "get down" as she got in front of him. Even Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that McCool's bravery has made him proud to live in Orlando.
As for Isaiah, he is still, understandably, struggling. He has been left with a crippling sense of guilt, believing that his mother's death is his fault.
Hopefully the wounds of the survivors will lessen with time. Given the kind of person McCool was, it's not surprising she readily sacrificed her own life for any one of her 11 children.
(Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
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