I wrote a paper on JFK's assassination in a sociology class in college. Admittedly the paper wasn't that good but it got me thinking about an interesting subject - how national or world events affect our personal lives. I interviewed my bishop and his wife about where they were and what they were doing when they heard JFK had been shot. It was a major moment in their lives and they remembered not only where they were but what they were doing and how they heard of the shooting. My generation was not alive at that point, but I bet if you ask anyone my age where they were on September 11 when the twin towers collapsed, they could tell you precise details. I know I could! These moments leave a permanant mark on our lives and have far reaching impacts in our lives even if we did not know anyone personally affected by them.
The reason I have been thinking about this lately (and good luck following my logic) is because I find that I react the same way to the personal tragedies of others. These moments become imprinted on my brain. I am an emotional person (not like I am a walking basketcase all the time - although sometimes that is true) and as such cannot help but respond emotionally to bad news before (and mostly after) my logical brain kicks in. Case in point: I talked to my mom tonight and she told me that the father of a close friend died of a major heart attack today. My first reaction was tears. I wasn't crying for myself but for my friend and her family who I know must be completely devestated by their sudden loss. My friend's father was one of the kindest and most generous men I have ever met. He is one of those people with whom you are instantly at ease and his home is a place where you want to be because you can feel the love and warmth of the family radiationg from its walls. My logical mind - when it finally kicked in reminded me that he is in a far better place now and although his family will miss him terribly, they will be comforted by the fact that he was a good person and has returned to Heavenly Father. However, I can't help but feel sad for his grandkids, that he won't be there to see them grow up and I am in agony for his wife and kids who now have a gaping hole in their lives where he used to be.
I know I am ultra sensitive right now anyway - a couple weeks ago I learned that a close family friend is dying after a prolonged and painful illness. Again my emotional response wins out. I know it will be a good thing for her not to suffer anymore. But I also know that she is as close to her brothers and sisters - not to mention her parents - as I am to mine and I can hardly imagine how they can pick up the pieces and move on after this. I know they will be able to (they are all strong, confident, intelligent individuals) and that they will be grateful she doesn't have to suffer anymore, but my heart aches for them.
Maybe it is the depression resurfacing, but I can't seem to stop hurting for my friends who are suffering. I feel helpless and frustrated. The world seems a little bit darker and a little less hopeful at the prospect of life without these two incredible people.