It’s odd, isn’t it? People die every day and the world goes on like nothing happened. But when it’s a person you love, you think everyone should stop and take notice. That they ought to cry and light candles and tell you that you’re not alone.
To those who are saying, “France is a big deal but it’s getting more coverage than other tragedies” — I would humbly and kindly ask to look up the Fallacy of Relative Privation.
It’s possible that we can care about one tragedy without pitting it against another (which is just crazy, when you think about it). Saying “Well what about __” doesn’t address the original problem and ultimately dishonors the real human lives we lost in all of them.
It’s possible to educate others and bring awareness of what’s neglected without condescending or competing by numbers.
It’s possible to both pray and donate; there’s enough time in the day for both.
It’s possible just to grieve and be angry and weep right now instead of using tragedy as a platform for politics or a spiritual lesson or a moral epiphany (and I realize I’m in danger of doing the same — yet I’m truly grieving, too).
Neglecting to say something on social media is not equivalent to apathy, and mentioning something on social media is not equivalent to empathy. It’s also unfair to be guilt-tripped by either. It’s okay if you don’t accordingly change your profile picture. It’s also unfair to accuse someone of being shallow if they change their profile picture.
It’s impossible to boycott everything and protest everything and raise awareness on everything, as much as we’d like to. By the time we figure out one problem, another comes along. It’s a fruitless exercise and only spreads us thin: and much better to use our limited resources and individual gifting and unique voices to deeply care about a few things as best as we possibly can. It’s possible to fully invest in one or two, and that’s how movements start.
There are many, many ways to care. We need all of them. There’s not enough time to care about everything, but there’s too much time wasted on nothing, and if each of us could care deeply about some things, we could find each other and cover almost everything.
This is a thing many people outside your grief cannot understand: that you have not simply lost one person, at one point in time. You have lost their presence in every aspect of your life. Your future has changed as well as your “now”.
When someone you love dies, people ask you how you’re doing, but they don’t really want to know. They seek affirmation that you’re okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they. Secretly they wonder when the statute of limitations on asking expires (its three months, by the way. Written or unwritten, that’s about all the time it takes for people to forget the one thing that you never will).
It sucks that we miss people like that. You think you’ve accepted that someone is out of your life, that you’ve grieved and it’s over, and then bam. One little thing, and you feel like you’ve lost that person all over again.
The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.
A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine that a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had.
But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she’ll know.
If you know someone who has…lost anybody who’s important to them, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn’t forget they died. You’re not reminding them. What you’re reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that’s a great, great gift.