Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Words Aren't Enough

What do you say when a seasoned firefighter tells you he's spent the last two days searching for and going through the remains of the nine firefighters killed in the recent helicopter crash in Trinity County? What do you say when he can't help crying after he's said that? What do you say? Or do you say nothing at all? I'm sorry seems inadequate. Silence seems uncaring. What do you say when he looks up from their pictures with tears in his eyes and asks, "did you know any of these guys? I did." What do you say? I don't know - all I know is I had to say something when this happened to me today. I mumbled that I am sorry for the loss, and I can't imagine how he must be feeling. He thanked me and it seemed genuine - like he knew I was searching for the words but could not find them. I think it's because sometimes there are none, but they are the best way for us to convey our sincerity in caring.

It's easy to detach myself from what's happening around here without realizing it. Today though, as images of the fallen firefighters and pilot flooded the trailer (office), I was acutely aware of my emotions, and it was hard for me. Pictures of them with their families, their new wives, their fiances... reading of their ambitions of finishing school, starting school - the seven that were killed were so young! Somehow it feels closer to home since they were all from Southern Oregon (Central Point, Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland).

What do you say? I have no idea.

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