‘I was given a second chance’: Pulse survivors, victims’ families reflect on 5-year anniversary

Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) – As the clock strikes on its five year anniversary, Pulse nightclub shooting survivors and family members of the victims say they’ve just begun their journey to heal.

Myreanna Bebe visited the Pulse site Friday with his mother.

Myrenna’s brother, Jason Josaphat, 19, was the youngest man who lost his life that night.

“Very passionate about everything that he does. Just very free-spirited,” his sister remembered.

According to media reports, Josaphat called his mother from the bathroom after the shooting started, and shielded a woman from the bullets.

“Every year, it does definitely feel fresh just because of how traumatic it is. It took a lot of self-healing to move on and try to find peace with what happened,” said Bebe.

Bebe told 8 On Your Side, it wasn’t until the pandemic lockdown that she finally took the time to process her grief.

“That’s when it really hit home and I understood this has happened and I kind of have to accept it,” she said.

Congress voted unanimously to designate the site a national memorial. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

On Friday, it was not just victim’s families and survivors showing their respects, but also members of the community who grieve alongside them.

“It’s just a reminder all the time just of what happened and how the community came together,” said Casey Mamone.

“It’s a lot. It takes a lot out of you mentally too, and emotionally,” said Amanda Grau. “You don’t wish this on your worst enemy, what we had to endure.”

Grau will be visiting the Pulse nightclub memorial Saturday. But Friday, she was in Tampa, working as an EMT.

She decided on that career path after many prayers and reflection on the first responders who helped save her life on June 12, 2016.

“What better way to pay it forward than to become an EMT myself,” said Grau.

Courtesy: Amanda Grau

She’s working towards becoming a paramedic.

While some calls can be triggering, she is able to focus on her patient’s care and takes a moment alone if she needs it.

She was shot four times at the Pulse nightclub shooting.

In the five years since, she spent weeks in the hospital, underwent multiple surgeries, got married and has done a lot of work to get where she is today.

“I was given a second chance and I’m not gonna waste it. I just wanna spread love and do good in the world and just help anybody that I can,” said Grau.

“I’m stuck in that loop of – something is going to happen. So it’s hard,” said Norman Casiano Mojica, who was also shot that night.

Like Grau, he lost friends that night.

He told WESH2 News, he prioritzed his mental health this year and moved into his own apartment.

His hope is to make his fallen friends proud.

“For them to be able to see like that we, those of us that did survive, we deserved to survive, and we’re doing what we what we can with it…for them,” he said.

There will be a Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Ceremony held Saturday June 12 at 7pm.

You can watch it on the OnePulse Foundation Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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