Pray for Paris, Hug Your Loved Ones
If the tragedy in Paris has taught us anything, it is how unsure our mortality is. Also underlined in bold letters is the voyeuristic side of society. Whoever can draw their phone the fastest and snap the first carnage-ridden image gets a shot at “going viral”. These people in these photographs, every single one of them, belong to somebody. They were once someone's baby, a teacher's pet, someone's pride and joy. They were everything to someone whom now lies broken. If we’re not directly affected, if we can still hug our loved ones, they remain fodder pursued by our morbid curiosity. It has demonstrated the worst humanity has to offer and nothing more.
I have experienced this type of hurt firsthand. After my brother was killed in a plane crash, I suggested we find coverage of the accident on the local station where my brother passed. My mom came over as I cued it up, and what happened after will stay with me forever.
I quickly found the right news station and we sat quietly and listened as the young reporter gave the latest details as they developed. Behind her, in clear sight, was the stretcher that held my brother. Paramedics were actively performing CPR while his body tried desperately to die. He won, and we lost in every way. We knew it was him simply due to process of elimination. One was a younger man pronounced dead at the scene; the other passenger didn't have injuries. That left one.
His name was Harry Sumner Hunt, and we had a front row seat to his demise. I turned it off as soon as I realized what we saw but the look on my mom's face told me that I wasn’t quick enough. Her cries were easily heard through the walls and the sounds of grief rang loudly in my ears. I’ve heard this cry many times throughout my stint as a nurse. They are always different but all give an equally nauseating punch in the gut.
Words can’t begin to describe the way in which she aged 10 years in one single second. We witnessed her break a little more with each time she replayed the coverage; her hands bent from arthritis as she touched the last picture she had of him. She never was quite the same, and none of us blamed her for it.
Yesterday, many of us were surrounded by family and spoke of what we we’re grateful for. This is a practice that I believe should be done more than once a year. We never know what tomorrow brings and should treat every moment with these people as a gift. There should not be a single day where this gratitude and love isn't expressed. There are 130 families in Paris and other countries that can no longer do just that. We need to remember them, support them, pray for them and help them through this extremely difficult time. It is during times like this that we need to band together as one for loss is what unites us as humans. The hurt that accompanies loss is universal; it is what makes us all equal.
I am grateful for all that I have. I love my boys more than life itself. I love Rob for being a great father. I love Kate for giving me the greatest 15 years of my life as well as the promise of a lifetime. These are my people. I would never want anyone that didn't know them looking at a video or photo of them similar to those released after the Paris attacks. I wish my mom had not seen her son suffering through his final moments and I have taken that lesson to heart. I will never take a picture for the benefit of voyeurism and will not pay them any attention if they appear in the media. I realize that others will and there’s nothing I can do to stop that. However, I can hold my head up high knowing that the picture and the hurtful music it plays will never be from me. That is something I can be proud of.