Currently the news seems to be full of stories of people being murdered while going about their everyday activities. Tourists and workers have been knocked down by vans. People having a Saturday night meal are being stabbed. Young people going to concerts are victims of homemade bombs. Attacks come with no warning and lives are changed forever.
I can no longer watch the news as simply a spectator. I now “feel” the news. I am taken back to my “Bad News Day” and one by one feelings of shock, fear, anger, loneliness, sadness wash over me. I cry for those left behind. I picture families getting the calls no one ever anticipates receiving. I can’t possibly know what it must feel like to lose someone to such a violent death. However, I know the pain of a sudden death and the loss of a future. I know that while time helps, that pain will never go away.
People are shocked by such events. They become topics of conversation in homes and staff rooms. People are quick to say that we cannot let terrorists win. They announce that we have to choose love and not fear. It must be “Business As Usual”. I say it’s very easy to speak this rhetoric when you haven’t been directly affected by the loss. Of course the general public need reassurance but sometimes I wonder if it comes at the expense of the bereaved.
By now I have got to know a number of bereaved people. One thing all of us have had in common (regardless of the circumstances of our loss) is a sense of isolation that comes with knowing our lives have come to a standstill while life goes on all around us. W. H. Auden’s Poem “Stop the clocks…” words this perfectly.
I think regularly of those left behind from such public deaths. I wonder how they feel as the world around them rushes to get back to business as usual. I hope they are not alone as their own lives fall apart. I hope their loved ones are remembered for their lives and not just their deaths. I hope they know that right now it’s ok to feel shock, fear, anger, loneliness, sadness, anger and to not always choose love.