The sense of loss: it doesn’t have to be personal

Hello. I had hoped to post days ago, about the interesting toilets, our Mt Fuji sighting, the awesome garbage collection, the supermarket checkouts, the beautiful people of Japan…  But as with all good holidays, it’s been lots of “go and see and experience” followed by collapsing into bed late at night after sharing stories and wine with loved ones.

I will get back to posting about it. The iPad, whilst awesome, isn’t thrilling to operate when you’re used to touch-typing fast.

Then, of course, there has been the strange emotion of grief for people I haven’t ever met.

I watched my beautiful daughter this morning while she still slept. Breathing, peaceful, blissfully unaware of the perils of strangers who think nothing of thinking nothing of taking the life from someone. Creating, along with it, a black hole of damage that sucks all joy into the void along with it. I watched her body rise and fall gently and I could not shake the image of the parents of all murder victims, how they must have to carry with them the devastation of their child’s life (however old they are) being stopped at the hands of willful, intentional other. It’s beyond my comprehension, how crushing that must be.

As with probably most of you, I began this week with the vain hopes that Jill Meagher would be found alive. I wanted so terribly much for the sake of her poor husband and family to have a happy ending. I’ve been carrying around the thoughts with me this week – do I have any right to feel like I’m grieving for the taking of her young life? Do I have any claim to sadness and such a sense of loss? Is it even appropriate for me to be feeling so much for her parents, for her husband Tom, for his parents…. all of them? She was so young, a life only beginning to be fulfilled.

Well, I could argue that it’s not my place, none of my business, inappropriate. But on the other hand, I believe a healthy sense of compassion is what society is often lacking. Indeed, that leads to a man taking for himself an entire life (and the lives of so many around that life) for his own brief thrill. Perish the horrifying thought.

So instead, I’m going to continue to focus love and gentle care towards that large extended family in Ireland and my hometown of Melbourne, their friends and colleagues, for they will all surely feel the sudden and violent removal of their beautiful wife, sister, daughter, cousin and friend for the remainder of their own days.

It’s all I can do. It feels more constructive to me than focusing hatred or wishes of retribution or having an opinion on what I believe would be anything close to justice.  My trip here to Japan has included learning about the existence, and the murder of, one Jill Meagher and I will never forget her now.


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