What To Write When The News Breaks Your Heart
I start by asking my husband if he’s read the news. Do we know anyone who’s hurt? Do we know anyone whose families have been killed? Does it matter if we know anyone? Children are missing. Spouses have been killed. Mothers are wondering where their babies are while they stare at empty beds. I text one friend who has family on one side of the wall: I hope your loved ones are okay. I text another friend with family on the other side of the wall: I hope your loved ones are okay. I stare at my computer and open a new document to write. The screen glows — the cursor taunts. I write a sentence and erase it. The words feel flat. The words feel like they’re failing. My son comes to my side and says, Mama, walk.
I close the computer and take him outside. There are no rockets overhead. There are no bombs. There is nobody who is trying to rip him from my arms. We can hear the birds and the wind rustling through the trees. The only warmth we feel is from the sun. I think of mothers, oceans away, who cannot do this, mothers who know only fear and anguish twists in my chest. There are no words for that kind of pain. I look for the helpers — the ones on the ground trying to heal the mess, and I donate what I can. It’s not much, but it’s a little something. I look at my son and say a silent prayer that he’ll always be safe. And I wish for a world where we help the helpers, where we feed the love, where we remember that everyone is someone else’s child. Where we never hesitate to give a helping hand. A word of comfort. A little something.