Whenever the worst of the current headlines populate breaking news and social media, I navigate to one place. It’s a simple move I make as a coping mechanism when I’m at a loss for words. When I can’t for the life of me comprehend evil. Hate. Sadness.
And sheer terror.
I visit YouTube and watch Tesla sing its 1989 hit “Love Song” that features personal footage from a concert in its hometown of Sacramento, Calif. I usually cry. Then I share it on Facebook because that is everything I feel. That song has been making me think and tear up since, well, 1989.
High school is always an emotional time.
Back then, I was a junior on student council and the tennis team with big hair who liked metal bands with big hair. Def Leppard is still my favorite. Bon Jovi, Poison, Mötley Crüe, Cinderella — all hair bands my classmates and I listened to by tape or vinyl. We didn’t have CDs or CD players yet, let alone MP3 players. The concept that someday we would listen to a Tesla album on a hand-held telephone or watch the “Love Song” video on a computer as thin as a stack of a few vinyl records was inconceivable.
Like Jetsons futuristic.
Flash forward to today’s technology-savvy, information-now society, where tragedies are reported almost as quickly as they happen. Access to video cameras on our phones means community news travels fast. Sometimes so quickly, we can barely comprehend what happened.
And it takes place all around the world.
As soon as I heard the news of the tragedy at Monday night’s Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, I felt the fear and unimaginable grief any parent of a child at the show might experience. Empathy is eternal in us, I believe. Some mask it. Maybe even fight and ignore it. Learned experiences can teach to discourage it. I know motherhood brought empathy out in me more than I ever expected.
Sometimes the sensitivity to it all hurts me to the core.
Empathy has been inside me like the 120-year-old smoldering coal seam fires that stew under the surface of Burning Mountain in New Castle, Colo. Becoming a mother only added fuel to my fire. That maternal instinct burns the hottest, in the worst of ways, when seeing children hurt.
I send love and light to all those affected Monday, in every single way.
That is the biggest impact becoming a parent myself has had on me, feeling the agony of just the mere thought of loss of a child. Miscarrying and giving birth to a baby 9 weeks early, I will always carry the trauma with me. It is part of me. Not many can talk about it.
The pain is enough of a burden that it feels like a burden to share.
I honestly lack the understanding to describe the loss of children in such a horrific way as this latest terror attack. The people in the crowd, in a range of ages, races and beliefs, were there to have a fun time listening and dancing to music from their favorite artist. From my first concert seeing Cheap Trick when I was 9, to seeing Rihanna sing “Diamonds” when I was pregnant with Will, music is all we have.
Music is everything.
With the youngest victim being reported at the age of 8, there’s no comprehension possible. I can’t find the right words of comfort. Or a meme that communicates the intended message. I just find myself going back to what I know, from my teenage years when I sang along to one of my favorite bands.
That love is all around us. It is a song about love. And how it will find its way back. Just keep an open heart.
We will all find love again.
April E. Allford prays for Manchester. She can be reached by commenting here.