There are stretches of time when it feels like there is no good news in the world. Tornadoes, earthquakes, accidents, war, floods…the bad news is relentless.
I’ve been in New York for the past week, at Book Expo America and conducting research and interviews for my book. It was intense and exhilarating and exhausting. So was the news:
*The search for loved ones in the aftermath of killer tornadoes in the Midwest.
*A New York City firefighter, a survivor of 9/11 who never got over the guilt of surviving his brother firefighters in the Deutsche Bank fire, committed suicide.
*A sailor just arrived in NYC that day for Fleet Week, was struck and killed by a car on the West Side Highway.
Obviously, in each example there are families who are grieving. But there are also friends.
How do people who are not family begin to search for their friends in Joplin?
How do firefighters cope with the knowledge their brother firefighter felt guilty for surviving when others didn’t?
How do Navy personnel accept that their colleague died not at war, but crossing the street?
I have no answers to these questions. All I know is that in every case, I thought about those left behind: the friends who worked with them, the friends who grew up with them, the friends who are left out in the chaos of grieving.
For all those friends – especially this Memorial Day weekend when we remember those who gave their lives for us all – I’ll raise a glass and say a prayer that they will find peace as they grieve their friends.