I am writing this while listening to the morning news, not on Long Island, but in Denver, Colorado, about thirty minutes south of Boulder. While the conversations barely a week ago were all about the potential three feet of snow in an historic snowstorm, the news today is the nightmare slaughter of ten people in a grocery store.
Let me correct myself. A nightmare is a dream where you can awaken and shake your head and get a cup of coffee. This is real. I hear the newscasters read the ages of the victims. When I hear about the younger ones, I feel my own loss in my heart and can’t stop the tears that always seem to live nearby. When the ages of those killed get closer to my own, I wonder what will happen to their children?
This year, there has been so much talk of many types of grief and loss. There is the loss of those we love, and alongside it, a heaviness and helplessness for those of us who lost our jobs and homes, who cannot see loved ones, live with extraordinary isolation, and the disruption of the schooling and development for a generation of children. I wish I could magically do something to stop the virus that has ended and upended the lives of so many, but I can’t. I wish I could shake up the indifference to mass murders, as so many others have tried. But I believe changes that help families, that protect and save us, can be done. We have to have the will.
We at COPE, who were taught a unique meaning of helplessness when we lost our children, our brothers and sisters, can work together to fight the grief and despair that so many of us are feeling. We can do it when we are kind to new members in our groups. We can do it by being there for others in our community when they face unspeakable loss. We can do it when we support COPE so we can grow stronger and help more families. Each little step of kindness, empathy, courage, support, is part of an active choice to do something. Maybe we can save lives.