It's Monday morning here in Melbourne; it's foggy and cold and people everywhere are shuffling off to work perhaps feeling a weighed down by a bit of Mondayitis or the return to school routine after a holiday break. It's almost impossible to comprehend though, the infinite amount of suffering many families are enduring right now at the hands of this unspeakable tragedy, the missile strike on passenger flight Malaysian Airlines MH17, Thursday July 17th (Friday AEST).
I feel like I have to write something down. I feel like my brain may just explode with the overwhelming amount of empathy and sadness I am feeling for these people, in particular for the Australian parents who have lost their three children and the children's grandfather charged with the job of accompanying the kids safely back to Perth for the beginning of the school term. I can't process it; I simply cannot fathom how they are functioning. How are they getting up this morning in their house, drowning in the physical belongings of their kids knowing they won't be coming back? How does the human body have the ability to continue functioning in such circumstances? What does the mind do to ensure the broken heart keeps pumping?
We're now five days past the incident and the newsfeed is not slowing. The newsfeed is now steering the grief and sorrow towards boiling-point anger for the way in which the aftermath and non-existent crash investigation process is being conducted. International investigators simply wait at the outskirts of the crash zone, held back by rebel separatists who are on the ultimate power trip. Not only are these families dealing with sadness, they're now dealing with a overwhelming sense of anger, frustration and helplessness. We imagine now the disrespect being displayed towards the bodies of these people's loved ones, towards everyday Australians who lie in a field in the middle of a foreign land, or in an unidentified plastic bag no closer to being returned to the arms of their loved ones. And while I can't comprehend it and while I feel angry in an emotional and political sense, as I go about my day I cannot put aside what the families of these victims must be feeling today, day five.
It seems that whenever there's an event such as this, as a sympathetic onlooker there's always one family's loss that strikes a chord with you, more than any other. Whether or not you feel a sense of similarity to that person, whether you think that could have been me or my children, there's always one that sticks with you long after the news reports begin to fade. For me, it's those parents and the mother who has lost not only her three young kids but also her Dad. I can't comprehend it but I extend my thoughts and prayers to them, not only for the safe return of those kids' remains and those of their granddad, but also for the awful cacophony of emotions one should never need to experience all at once, to slowly ease. Only time will tell if Russia is going to do the right thing in the wake of this crime; God help all of us if they don't.
Hug your loved ones tight - it may sound like a cliche, but it really could have been any one of us.