Son's Eulogy for His Mom Honors Her as a True Hero in the Orlando Shootings (VIDEO)

If you thought you could finally make it through one day without crying about Orlando, you're wrong. Many of the victims' families mourned and celebrated their lost loved ones with funerals and memorials over the weekend, which means it was a weekend filled with impossible grief on their part and secondhand sadness on ours. But the moment that really got to us was when Isaiah Henderson spoke at his mother's funeral and described the moment she saved him from the gunman with her body and with her life. He could hardly stand, he was crying so hard -- and we could hardly comprehend the unbearable situation both mother and son were put in.


Isaiah and his mother, 49-year-old Brenda Lee Marquez-McCool, went to Pulse to dance together, and when the shooting started, she shielded her son's body with her own. 

Brenda had 11 children and a large family, and they described her as the life of the party, a resilient fighter, and a leader.

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"I never thought that her life would be ended right in front of my eyes," Isaiah said. "My mother accepted everyone with open arms. She loved everybody equally, no matter what."

Two of Isaiah's brothers held him up as he broke down, and ABC News reports that many of his siblings also offered words for their mother. 

Michael Santos, Brenda's brother and Isaiah's uncle, talked about her fire and her fight. "I have nothing to say to you because my heart is on fire," he said. "I have no words."

ABC News shared some footage from her funeral, and it's beyond heartbreaking:

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Seeing Isaiah's grief is a harsh reminder that we weren't there and we don't know. We can mourn the state of the world and the hate that exists here and the young lives that were lost on that recent Sunday. But we do it from a distance. We can't know what it was like inside that club that night, what it was like to see that kind of bigotry firsthand. We can't know what it was like to see a hatred so strong aimed at our sons, and then to see and to understand the only sacrifice that will protect them.

We can't know Isaiah's grief. But we can understand Brenda's instincts, and we can respect and revere the sheer force of her love for her family. That instinct caused her to put her own body between a bullet and her son. It saved his life, and if that's what motherhood is for, so be it.

Brenda Lee Marquez-McCool did the thing no mother should ever have to do, but the one thing all mothers would. She did it willingly and she did it lovingly. And it worked.

Rest in peace.


Image via Orlando Sentinel/Contributor

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