I don’t know about you,
but I’m never sure what exactly to say
when I hear that someone’s world has just been shattered
or some completely senseless act of selfishness,
or by all of that
Usually, the first thing I want to do
is convince myself
that what happened didn’t really happen.
It can’t be true.
There must be another explanation.
Let’s please just change the channel
or open our eyes all together
on the count of three,
and watch the nightmares skitter away
under the bright light of day.
Obviously that only works
when the nightmare truly is just a nightmare,
– not a life –
but this sort of reprieve does,
allow my heart the extra few moments it needs
for reality to soak in more slowly.
Instead of drowning me
in a tidal wave
Once I have come nose to nose with
what can no longer be denied though,
I sometimes feel badly
that I feel so badly
when I am
not even the one who’s been hurt
by the situation at hand.
Until I realize that,
although I may not be at the epicenter of the tragedy,
the shockwaves of pain
and the pangs of fear
to those of us who are
I’m not exactly sure.
But I do know that
I’m pretty certain
it’s probably not helpful
for people who are reeling from loss
to hear things like
at least it wasn’t worse
or buck up, you’ll feel better eventually
or this is only going to make you stronger
or here, let me try to fix this unfixable thing
I only know that what has helped me most
in my own shattered moments
is to hear
you’re not alone
here’s a cup of tea
and a warm blanket
and if you need anything else,
I am here for you.
In the meantime,
just keep breathing.
May peace and care and deep breaths of healing surround all the people of Paris – and Beirut, and Syria – and all the rest of us who feel a stab of pain today.