Updated: Aug 30, 2020
The Beirut incident has reinforced our wretched anxiety and existential terror concerning death. Death is remembered often only when it is witnessed. As we watched the videos of the explosion our dread slowly transformed into the trauma of realizing the unawareness of the unfortunate. The lives of ordinary men and women, going about their businesses, convinced they’d come back home to a meal and comfortable bed; all interrupted by an event no one saw coming.
The emotions that have followed are overwhelming and as rational beings we are trying to find the meaning in the loss of lives. What we are ending up with are feelings of anger and guilt; because no one should die before their time, before checking off their bucket list, or even saying goodbye. The casualness with which their lives were written off as they became collateral damage is disheartening. I believe it is not just the pain of death, but our attempt to understand what may have happened to those people in that last moment, that resonates with our need for closure.
As creatures bearing empathy, we will feel disconnected with reality for a while. The anxiety around death will set in, and for a while we may not even talk about it. But at no time is communication more crucial than right now. We are witnessing people pour condolences because they matter. They matter to the people who are confined to accepting the death of their loved ones, helping them know that their grief is shared; that we are an equal participant in feeling the hollowness that has been left after this tragedy. By talking about it, by sharing, by being open about how we feel can help minimize our anger, our guilt, our grief.
The grief will not go away. It will remain a constant battle. But by sharing the grief maybe it can become less burdensome. We need to become the global support system for Beirut, and help the residents in every capacity we can – even if it might be only in words. Maybe sharing this kindness may lessen the heartache so it doesn’t consume our senses and leave us crippled. And maybe then we can wish well for the departed, instead of wishing they were not gone so soon.