You’ve just heard the most tragic news. It’s sad. Shocking. Terrifying. And maybe you stop to say a sincere prayer. Maybe you cry right where you are because of their loss . . . The way their world has suddenly changed forever has rocked you to your core. You can’t imagine what it would be like to suffer such a paralyzing fate. You don’t know what to do but one thing is for sure: you need to connect and rally around other humans United by the shock and sadness of this event. Maybe the strong feeling to reach out to the actual family is suddenly upon you.
What do you do? Well that’s up to you. But I’m begging everyone with truly good intentions to hear me out. I know it sounds crazy but is there any way that respect and privacy could rise to the highest sense of urgency for a few hours?
Trauma and sudden loss of life are tender topics. They are serious weapons of mass destruction but there are known elements that can soften their blow. And it matters how you hear about these events and from whom. It takes time to get a hold of the right people. It takes time to assemble the right support. It takes time to allow for code blues and body identifications to run their course. For people to hear the words ” I’m sorry there was nothing more we could do” and to understand them. To say goodbye. To call the people – so many people who deserve to hear from a family voice. And to make decisions.
And there is no dress rehearsal for death. You get one chance at all of it. There is only one time you will hear those words. You don’t get to push a reset button. I am sorry we live in an age where some people hear their sacred news on a social media comment. I know how disorienting it is to get “I’m sorry. We’re praying for you “texts way before you know what your prayer needs are. I’m sad that containment and insulation are nearly impossible in these moments. We had to hurriedly send a family member to retrieve our boys from school because somehow people had already heard the news even though we hadn’t left the hospital. We could have easily been denied the Holy privilege of bearing that news as a family together.
So let it stop you in your tracks. Let it break your heart and lift your prayers and rock your world. But please let it do those things for a very long time before it causes you to hit the SEND button. Because that police scanner isn’t broadcasting breaking news , it’s begging you to let that first responder call be the only call for a good, long while.