My first Antioch co-op was reporting at the Staten Island Advance newspaper. One of my responsibilities was writing obituaries.
I wasn't very good at it then, and I'm worse at it now. The two I'm touching on today hurt as all do, as do any tragedies that happen to friends and family.
Today I am sad for my friends--the parents, brother, and sister of Luke--a small baby in the UK who this week did not make it to term. At eight months, something went amiss. Luke did not take his first breath.
And Alex, the not-quite-toddler son of my cousin and his wife. Alex had a number of conditions, but why he suddenly went into cardiac arrest is not yet known. His parents did not hesitate when he was born, but accepted the challenge of each medical condition as it arose. They are the strongest, most optimistic people I know.
Tragedies can only be endured. There are no shortcuts and no way back. Sadness and loss become incorporated into the experiences of the survivors, become a part of them rather than being something experienced and forgotten. And for us bystanders, we feel helpless and inadequate. There is truly nothing to be done save telling the survivors that we are thinking of them.
And so I think of them. And how it must feel. And how loss has affected me in the past, and all I can hope is that one day it is all a memory to them instead of the raw sadness that it must be today.