It is an unfortunate characteristic of mine that I sometimes feel other people’s emotions on an abnormal level. While most people are sick of hearing about it, I cried last week when they officially closed the case on Natalee Holloway because I imagined what that must have felt like for her family. I obsessed for months during Elizabeth Smart’s disappearance and sobbed in gratitude the day she was found. I fantasized about tracking down a bully at the school who was being mean to my friend’s kid and cried myself to sleep for several nights in a row after learning about the violation of another’s. I have actually cried watching a guy in a wheelchair win a bunch of money on Wheel of Fortune because I imagined how it might help him with health bills. And don’t even get me started on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. [Before I continue, I really think I should get blogger points for admitting the Wheel of Fortune thing. Even though there’s no such thing as blogger points, I’m making them up right now. And I just earned, say, fifty.]
Today is going to be a very difficult day for some treasured family friends who are burying their one-week-old baby. My parents and brother’s family will surely attend the service, which will undoubtedly feature a mixture of grief over the loss and gratitude for support. I am hundreds of miles away feeling cramps in my chest and helpless to offer any real comfort. I’d love to be the one who writes just the perfect thing in a card that causes a blanket of peace to overwhelm them, but after watching my sister bury a child I recognize that those perfect words don’t really exist. Instead, the road to peace is long, arduous, and very personal, so I am wondering where I fit in. With words coming up short and attendance being impossible, it feels like the only remaining option is to sit here and invite feelings of remorse, hoping that doing so might take some of it away from them. I’m not sure it will work, but trying is all I’ve got. Hug your kids a little tighter today, will ya?