My family and friends know I’m a prolific letter writer. I must send several notes to elected officials each week about one issue or another. Yesterday I realized I’m now sending more condolence cards than my standard fare of political action notes, a sign of the new Covid-19 times we live in.
Two deaths this week hit me hard, not because of who had died (I didn’t know either man personally), but my heart is broken for their families left behind. Both deaths seem so unfair.
One was a young healthy man who died of COVID-19 in NYC. Very successful in business with a tremendous future in front of him, he left behind a wife and young daughter and parents who are all grieving his loss. A ZOOM memorial can’t cover the distance the hearts must travel to make any sense of the senseless.
The second death was a well-respected Palestinian physician in Gaza who had been suffering from cancer for some time. Israel has prevented essential medical supplies and medicines from entering Gaza for years now, and routinely denies permission for patients to leave Gaza to seek medical attention elsewhere.
His son in the U.S. has left no stone unturned to get the critical medicines and vitamins to his father, even though he could never travel to Gaza himself to visit, that was verboten by the Israeli authorities. I was pleased to play a minor role in that transit process a year ago. Today his son is mourning his father’s death, unable to join his mother in Gaza and grieve together as a family.
I don’t know the religious traditions of each man, but I suspect one was Jewish and one was Muslim. It really doesn’t matter at all. Both are gone and have left huge holes in the hearts of many.
If there’s such a thing as heaven (I’m not at all sure about that) then they are probably both sitting there, digesting their new surroundings where all of the superficial differences have disappeared. The “other” is an unfathomable idea.
They both recognize the pain and sorrow they left behind, and likely want to comfort their family and friends.
In my own musing about these two families’ unbearable sadness, I want to touch their hearts with my heart and ease their burdens.
We are one, there is no other.