Lately, it seems like I’m swimming through grief every day for parents I’ve never met.
It’s a numbers game, really. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few weeks. The smaller your village, the fewer the tragedies. Statistically speaking, anyway. And so here, in this community of parents (and even further), where we correspond with people three states over, two continents over, the good news and the bad news is exponential.
Since Emily Mandell died, Madeline Spohr and Thalon Myers have joined her. And sadly, obviously, hundreds more around the world have as well. It’s just that I know of these particular three because the web has made their stories audible. They are special and yet representational of so many other children who have died this month. Mothers are mourning right now in every city, in every land. The pain is palpable.
On Twitter people have cursed the universe, screamed at God, wondering how this can happen—how babies can die, one after the other, and leave us all aghast at the unfairness and the heartache. I’ve read posts wondering if those of us who don’t know the families personally are rubbernecking grief, or drawn to the drama.
But the universe is too vast and the world can be too cruel to not offer support for anyone in pain when it feels like the right thing to do.
We are promised nothing and owed nothing in our lives. Call what we do have gifts, call them pieces of luck.
But we can be grateful for each day we have with the people we love. And we can lift up the people around us who will open their eyes tomorrow without them. Emily, Maddie and Thalon will be missed terribly.
The past is sailing off to sea,
the future’s fast asleep.
A day is all you have to be,
it’s all you get to keep.
—from All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant