Posts Tagged ‘tragedy’

Recently there was a tragedy in Ireland. By the sea in Buncrana, County Donegal.

Many of my Irish family members and friends had shared the articles and links on Facebook so it was in my newsfeed for a few days.

Tragedies occur every day. We all know this. But this was even more heart-wrenching than the usual headlines.

A family of six savoring precious moments together while watching the sunset from a pier. Enjoying life and the presence of each other.

Minutes later the car plunged into the water. Possibly skidding on algae while the driver was attempting to turn the car.

The only survivor was a four month old infant. Held out by her father, who had broken the window and was on the ledge of the door, to a fellow who had jumped in the water to help.

The last thing the Dad said was, “Save my baby.”

As he went back into the car with the rest of his family.

Everyone in the car perished.

That’s not the worst of it.

The mother of the four month old child was away at a friend’s “hen party” in England. A hen party is a gathering for a woman about to be married. The first time she had been away from her family for more than a few hours. They had urged her to attend for a much needed break.

She called them to say her flight from Liverpool was delayed. Only five minutes before the tragedy occurred. While they were still on the pier.

It just gives me the shivers.

Her little boy told her she was the best Mammy in the world and was going to give her a squeezy hug when he saw her.

Here is the worst of it.

This thirty-five year old woman lost her two young sons, partner, mother and only sister that evening.

There are just no words. Who could imagine a loss like this?

The man who rescued the baby is hailed as a hero. He is certainly that but I am sure he will be haunted for years to come.

Hard to find any good news in this story.

But there are some things she will always know.

She will always know that she chose the right man as her partner. One who put his children and family before himself.

She will always know that the courage of an absolute stranger saved her one remaining child. Maybe her only reason for getting up in the morning after such a devastating loss.

She will always know that they were enjoying each other as a family-savoring life’s beautiful moments.

She will always know that her child’s last words to her were that she was the best Mammy in the world and that he was going to give her a squeezy hug.

These thoughts will probably also keep her up at night but maybe, just maybe, give her some measure of comfort in the future.

I can’t imagine her heartbreak, loneliness and despair.

Savor the moments.

Let our last words be loving ones.

Reach out to those who mourn. For days and years. Grief doesn’t disappear with the returned casserole dishes. 










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Every Minute

A woman that I worked with at AT&T was posting last week on Facebook about how excited she was to be heading to Texas to see her grandkids. Subsequent postings showed that she was enjoying her time with family. Posted pics of her four year old grandson’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese just five days ago.

Today she shared that this fun family vacation was marred by a horrible tragedy yesterday. Her family was involved in a terrible car accident in Humble, Texas and as a result they lost their little four year old grandson.

I was so very sad to hear this. I really can’t imagine the mother’s pain. Or the pain of the entire family.

Life is so very precious. Here one minute and gone the next. Sometimes with no warning at all.

Make the most of every minute. Show the love to the family and friends. Enjoy each other. Let go of the grudges and negativity.

Life is short enough as it is. And sometimes it can be even shorter.

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Most of you know that Rory lost her friend Veronica when they were fourteen years old. Veronica had been hit by a car while crossing the street after school.

Tomorrow would have been her twenty-second birthday.  So, of course, I have been thinking about her.

What you may not have known is that the girl driving the car that hit her was also a student at the same high school.

You can imagine school letting out on a beautiful autumn day. Streams of kids walking home. Loads of cars. Moms and carpools.

It was an accident. As tragic as it was.

Rumors went wild about the young driver.

A lot of the community’s energy was focused on the victim of the accident. Okay, most. Truth be told. All.

Except that I do recall something. Annie’s soccer coach, Lisa, made dinner for another family that was also devastated by the accident. Her neighbor across the street. The family of the young driver. I remembered thinking how very compassionate it was of Lisa.

While they didn’t lose a daughter this family was also very much effected. The girl ended up transferring to another school. I also remember being in a restaurant some months later and my Rory whispered, “That’s the girl who hit Veronica.”

My heart and mind was obviously with Veronica’s family at that time.  But I often think about how we forget that so many folks are effected by tragic events. The young girl will never forget that day. That accident. I am sure the course of her life was utterly changed. As was her family’s. The whispers. Always being the girl who hit Veronica.

And that was an accident. Imagine the families of people who purposefully commit atrocities.

It is normal to open our hearts to victims. To side with the wronged or aggrieved party. It’s easier and, of course, no one wants to be seen as sympathetic to the other side.

Truly had me thinking about what real compassion might be.

I remember seeing the real life story, made into a television movie, where Sister Helen Prejean (played by Susan Sarandon) was the sole spiritual support for a rapist and killer. Whoa. Not sure I could do that. But I was in awe of her.

Recently saw a photo of Pope Francis. He was kissing a severely disfigured man on his head. Not sure I could do that either. I would like to think that I could but the reality is that I might not. It wouldn’t be easy. But I was in awe of him.

Now, granted, these last two examples are of people who are probably more compassionate than most. Whether through God’s gift or training.

There are so many people out there that would benefit from the difficult acts of compassion. Maybe all are victims. In some way. Maybe not. I hope that one day I might be truly compassionate. Not just when I am on the right side of it. And when it’s easy.

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