Last night I watched the evening news to a sight I had never witnessed. It was the story of the murdered victims from the Netherlands from Malaysia flight 17. The story showed the coffins being taken from the military plane to a long line of hearses that take the bodies from the airport to the coroner awaiting identification.
The line-up of hearses, from the air, looked line one continuous black line. The hearses moved through the city with onlookers tossing roses at the vehicles and a grief stricken country paying respects to the innocent passengers whose lives were cut short.
You can’t help but feel a pain when watching this horror. It’s almost as if this were a movie being show because the enormity of the situation is almost too much to bear. It took me back to the 9/11 when world leaders shared their grief by stating, “Today we are all Americans” referring to the grief felt around the globe.
It’s not that grief and mourning are contagious, but the human experience works off energy and vibration. There is a universal connection that is triggered when we witness a horror such as the shooting down of a civilian passenger plane. We grieve together, even though we don’t know the individuals, because we have experienced grief. We have all had moments in our lives when we’ve been impacted by life situations that are inconceivable such as September 11, 2001 or the tsunami that hit Indonesia, or the innocent teachers and students killed in Newtown. We grieve because in our heart of hearts we are compassionate. We are connected by the human condition and it tugs at us and says, “Wake up and remember when you were impacted”. That trigger allows us to stand beside those impacted sharing their grief, wanting to help them carry their load, and reassuring us that we really are human!
Obviously we don’t seek out grief; it’s talented and finds us. Grief is triggered by experiences and acts we have no control over. It gets triggered when we, or those we know, are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. It’s triggered when we watch first responders digging through the rubble after a tornado wipes out a town. It’s triggered when a ferry carrying Korean children on a school trip capsizes.
Unfortunately we can’t prevent all the experiences that trigger grief. It’s a part of the lives we lead as human beings. I would love it if we never experienced loss but that’s only in Utopia, so embrace it and allow it shape who you are. Allow grief to be something that doesn’t define you, but is a component in the complex nature of being human!
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