As soon as my little one’s eyes closed last night, I ran into the office to pull my husband away from the computer so we could watch the storm news. I thundered downstairs with that mix of voyeuristic excitement and concern for my New York family and friends – only to find 10-15 police cars outside my front door. I had never even heard a siren. The police had closed off a large area and were moving pedestrians along, preventing them from filming or photographing the body.
A man had jumped to his death. Such a strange juxtaposition to be captivated by this tragedy as so many people were fiercely protecting their own lives at the same moment.
My daughter was curious, scared and sad. I was, too. We’ve talked a little in the past about suicide as it comes up in literature, or in the evening news. She knows it happens but doesn’t understand why. It’s a hard thing to explain when I struggle myself to understand. Yet it is an idea that once had me paralyzed, so many, many moons ago. I hardly recognize that younger self.
After a few hugs, we turned our attention to the storm. Disaster after disaster. Earlier in the day, a conversation with my sister had been cut off when she lost power. She sent a text, “Lost power. Need to save phone battery. Will call when power returns. Love you : )” She’s on high ground. My other sister is, too. So lucky, both of them. I’m grateful. We all stayed up too late watching storm news.
Exhausted from the day, I had that frenetic charge that I knew would prevent sleep. I could hear the intermittent creaking of my daughter’s bed and knew that she, too, was restless. Her room was lit up like Christmas with all the police lights. We moved a mattress into my room, and I covered her in fleece and down and words of comfort.
Family. We are just a little family, but big in love. And not far from our little family, we have a bigger family, more people who know us, love us, and call us their own. Each of these people strengthen our web, our interconnectedness to life and the world. We are your safe harbor. Know this and you will never be alone. You will always be loved. Your life is of great value.
I cannot prevent her from seeing all the sadness in the world. I can only hope that she delights in its joy.