Elka Desjardins knew Brenda McCool from beauty school

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 02:23:13-04

Elka Desjardins says that she is in a fog as she tries to come to grips that her friend, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, is gone. 

McCool is one of 49 victims of Sunday's mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub.

"I've got chills just thinking about it," Desjardins said.

"I was thinking about it today. I was driving around and everything looks the same but it feels different, knowing that someone I knew was killed in a massacre."

Desjardins said she was classmates with McCool in beauty school in the early 2000s. She said McCool was from Brooklyn and had a great sense of humor. They kept in touch through Facebook.

Facebook is also the way Desjardins found out about McCool's death. After seeing that McCool was deemed safe by the Facebook Safety Check system, she found out that McCool, a mother of 11 children and two time cancer survivor, had passed away.

"It's hard to think of what her kids are going through right now," said Desjardins.

"One of her sons was with her there and he's going to carry that with him."

McCool would go to Pulse Orlando, the nightclub, to dance with her gay son, who survived. Now Desjardins joins thousands of others mourning the loss of the 49 victims.

"I'm going to miss her. I will. Even though I haven't physically seen her, knowing that I can send her a message on Facebook and her sending one back, that won't happen anymore."