This is just to say...
“Life changes in the instant.”
This post contains references to suicide and mental health issues. If you are in crisis or need support in any way — even if you don’t think it’s “important” enough—please text 988 and just say, “I need help.” It’s free, it’s confidential, you will get support from caring professionals, and you can remain anonymous. You can also visit 988lifeline.org. And remember, there are people in the world who love you and count on you.
Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.
-Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
This week a very public loss has affected many in my community, but none so much as our own family. It has been nothing short of devastating for the people I love most in this world.
The grief is compounded by all the publicity and talk that the death of a public figure engenders; especially one so many people felt like they knew.
(I understand why celebrities always put out statements like “please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.” They don’t expect anyone to really listen, but it’s worth giving it a shot, I suppose.)
After a tragedy like this, I know it’s human nature to want more information; people crave the details that can connect us to each other, give us a more important role in the conversation, help us process our grief or shock or disbelief, to find a scapegoat, to absolve us of feelings of guilt or helplessness. Or maybe we are simply humans, wired to seek community through the stories of shared loss.
I have struggled for the last few days with what to say. Everything feels wrong. Maybe this is wrong too, I don’t know. I’m pretty blurry myself.
What I have landed on, so far, is that I have a much longer list of what I don’t want to say.
So I’m not writing today to reveal untold stories or correct facts or bring to light some new revelation. I hope you’re not here for that reason, and if you are, I am sorry to disappoint.
I simply want to extend immense gratitude to those who have reached out with genuine kindness and compassion.
I want to say thank you for caring about kids you’ve never even met.
And I want to wish peace and healing to those who are hurting.
So many people have generously asked what they can do. I suppose my response right now is: Be kind. Extend grace. Think before you write something publicly that may pour salt on open wounds. Try to make peace with the fact that you—well no one, really—will ever know anyone else’s entire story. Forgive yourself and others for being imperfect. Tell the people you care about how you feel about them every single day. Don’t blame yourself for things that are out of your control. Do something good in the name of someone you love.
The world is a harsh place. Let’s keep directing positive energy, uplifting thoughts, prayers, white light, strength and unwavering love out into the universe to those who need it most.