As a parent, I found this week to be a particularly difficult one. In the aftermath of the terrorist shooting at a bus stop in Ofra, nine people were shot, including a young husband and wife, pregnant with their first child. Doctors were able to prematurely deliver the child, a boy, at 30 weeks, but only three days later, baby Amiad succumbed. All of Israel mourned along with parents Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran. Hamas praised the shooters.
Days later, terrorists struck again at another bus stop only a few miles from where the first attack had taken place. This time, 19-year-old Yosef Cohen and 20-year-old Yovel Mor Yosef, both soldiers, were killed. As a mother of a 19, 23 and 26-year-old boys, I could only imagine their parents’ pain. Among those injured was 21-year-old American-born Netanal Felder, who was critically hurt; his parents asked everyone to say a prayer for their son’s recovery. Hamas praised the shooters.
In the aftermath of this week, 10,000 joined in the weekly Friday protest in Gaza; clashes ensued. Among those injured was a four-year-old child. Ahmed Abu Amed, who later died from his wounds. His parents buried him and his community mourned.
Here in the United States, a 7-year-old girl, Jakelin Caal, died from dehydration while in custody of border agents. She and her family, from a poor village in Guatemala, were trying to build a better future. The thought of losing a child that young is beyond difficult to contemplate.
Incomprehensibly, a 9-year-old girl in Alabama, McKenzie Nicole Adams, committed suicide. Suicide. Her family says she suffered from racist bullying in school all year. I cannot imagine the pain she must have felt that would drive her to something that final, let alone what her family is going through now.
There are political implications to each and every story here, and I am not comparing them in any way. I only want to focus on how painful loss is. No parent should ever bury a child. Ever.
How do we put ourselves in the shoes of Amiad, Yosef, Yovel, Ahmed, Jakelin or McKenzie’s parents? How do we resist any urge to spout a political opinion of what anyone should or should not be doing, and instead just say, “This is wrong. And I am sorry. I can only imagine the pain you feel, the loss you are experiencing. And I ache with you.”
I cannot envision, nor do I want to envision, what it must be like to lose a child. I am not even sure how to take that depth of grief and transform it into something else. But I do understand compassion. If we cannot change their circumstances, can we at least agree that we live in a world where there is too much pain?
Find a charity that alleviates someone’s pain and donate. Your time. Your money. Whatever it is that you can do, do it. Please. Be compassionate. Find a way to make this world a less painful place for others. As a mother and a citizen of this world, I thank you.