It’s difficult not to be moved and be affected by the events in Paris last Friday night. We can, will, and already are speculating as to why, and not who, carried out such barbaric yet carefully calculated attacks. The majority will condemn Isis, others will lay blame at Migrants and some will even look to our own governments for their part in responsibility. But let’s look at those who matters the most, let’s look at the victims.
I was asked by a friend recently to help write a condolence card to someone they’d recently lost. Words tumbled out as i imagined my own grief at thought of losing someone close to me. Although incredibly personal, grief affects us all. Mourning someone who dies suddenly is a very different grief to losing someone to illness for example. One certainly does not outrank the other, but there are differences. My grief was mourning accidental death (so concluded the Inquiry)
Cliche’d phrases like “grief and sorrow,” “my condolences” and my favourite “you’re forever in my thoughts” are actually perfectly plausible and valid methods of expressing grief. The truth hurts if you outline the processes of emotions they’re about to run through…
Devastation, disbelief, despair are stage one. Stage 2 is usually surrounded by the lead up to the funeral. You see family members you never normally see, acquaintances become good friends and whilst there is a sense of irony, almost patronisation. You’re glad you’re not alone.
Post funeral is stage 3. Moving on, now you are alone. Whilst the grief relents from raw pain to a mere throbbing headache, realisation sets in. You will never see this person again. They will not impact on your future self aside from being a poignant memory, bittersweet in the sense that whilst they still feel real and all around you, they are not. That’s why you mourn / celebrate important dates (anniversary of their death, their birthdays, christmas)
I still have my father’s telephone number in my contact list. Miracles don’t happen, i know that. But by keeping him current, he’s still alive? No. But when the phone is in my jacket he is close to my heart.
The immediacy of the fallout from Paris will perpetuate via global press. The “War on Isis” will continue (10 years ago it was the “War on Terror but that’s for another thought.)
The thought today must be for the fallen and their families. The raw pain must be unimaginable, immeasurable. I never got to say goodbye, but I could take solace. How can they when the media details a confusing account of what happened to their loved ones? We need not see “exclusive” pictures from inside Le Bataclan for example.
For the surviving victims who were spared their lives by mere circumstance or fortune, they are now sentenced to a lifetime of horrific memories. They too will mourn fellow loved ones who may have been injured, or worse, or mere strangers who suddenly now will become an extended family member by mere circumstance of being in the worst place at the worst time.
The fight will continue so let’s rally around the true victims, those who simply went to a restaurant on a Friday night, or went to a rock concert, or went to watch their national team. Hearts are heavy, emotions are raw and judgement is clouded. Save that prayer for the morning after, when it may just be needed the most.
Written by Darren Garrod