Monday, April 6, 2009


In light of the recent tragic events in my hometown of Binghamton, I've opted to forego the regular Money Saving Monday feature to write what is on my heart.

This past summer, I sat in an airplane across the aisle from a woman who was clearly distraught. After spending several minutes wrestling over whether I should speak with her, I finally did. I leaned over the aisle and whispered that I didn't mean to pry, but did she need to talk?
She smiled grimly through her tears and shared with me that her mother was dying and that she was worried that she wasn't going to get there in time to say good-bye.

As she opened up to me about her story, the tears began to flow...both hers and mine. As she wept, I wept. Her pain was raw and, in that moment, what I had to offer in response was my grief. The affirmation that what she felt was real and valid, and she was not alone. I wanted to do more, but I had nothing more to give.

Last night, I attended the prayer vigil in remembrance of the 14 victims of this weekend's massacre. I saw your faces--the faces of the families of the victims. I marveled at the number of different hues of skin, all telling the story of your countries of origin: Haiti, China, Pakistan, Brazil, the Philippines, Vietnam, United States, and Iraq.

I watched you as you passed by and wished I had something to offer. Although it was only a glimpse, I had the sense that you have felt this kind of pain before. That this kind of horror was much more familiar to many of you than it should be.

But then, this time you are far from home. I tried to imagine how it must feel to experience such deep loss in a place that is not home. I wondered if you are longing for home now.

And I wept. All I had to offer in that moment was my grief. The affirmation that what you feel is real and valid. And that you are not alone.

In the middle of the onslaught on Friday, there was a low, long rumble of thunder. Strange for this time of year. But for me, it was a reminder that there is a God who grieves with you as well. He has a Son who has experienced deep agony in a place that is not His home. He is fully acquainted with grief. He affirms that what you feel is real and valid. He has felt it too.

And although I do not know you, I grieve with you. It is all that I have to offer in this moment. In this place that is not home, may you know that you are not alone.


Trina said...

wow - what great perspective on such a painful subject. thanks

Hollyn said...

That was worded so wonderfully... thank you for sharing this. I know I can relate to your words and grief over friday's events and my heart aches for the families involved.

sand in my shorts said...

it is not nice to make me cry in the middle of my work day - beautifully worded, the reminder of God's grief at this tragedy is spot on.

Sharon said...

Kaley thanks for sharing your heart and your beautiful words. We are keeping your community in our prayers.


Anonymous said...

Your perspective is so real and emotional. Thank you so much for writing about it. It really touched my heart.

if I were me said...

Thanks for sharing.

I feel like I can't even get to grief yet - I think I'm still in the shock/disbelief stage. I feel like I'm in some sort of emotional limbo and I just can't seem to fully grasp or take it in...

(I didn't know any of the victims personally, but I'm acquainted with family and/or friends of three of them - it's just so surreal...)


Jake Ch-en said...

thank you, cousin. very well done. jake

ian said...

Thanks for posting this Kaley. Much love.

Jeremy said...

Wow. Well said.