In modern life it is often the case that we are hyper separated from each other. And then disaster strikes, and we’re immediately pulled closer together, as if the only thing that could hold us was our community.
en Red candles will be lit at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough, County Donegal, today when the first victims of the tragedy are buried.
“One of the hard things, I think, to accept and come to terms with was that it just came out of the blue. You wake up in the morning and you don’t come home at night and that was very hard.’ These were the words of the Creeslough village’s GP, Dr. Paul Stewart, who was responsible for the fatalities after the explosion. “These wounds will take years to heal,” he added.
Consolation and consolation are expressed, but it is the tenderness of the act that more faithfully honors the village’s compassion.
There were the human chains that formed immediately after the massive explosion to sort through the debris.
As early hopes faded over time, the arduous work continued, just in case. The bereaved parents of 14-year-old Leona Harper spoke in praise and gratitude for the merciful work done by everyone. Leona’s mother Donna thanked the backhoe driver who found her body after a 24-hour search. “I knew the backhoe operator personally – a huge thank you to him because he just didn’t stop until he caught her,” she said.
Despite the devastation and life-size hole ripped through their world, they felt moved to recognize the decency and dignity that had survived when so much else had been taken away.
“It’s a powerful thing to come together,” said Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian. “There’s something about the depth of experience these people go through that it’s okay to be quiet and it’s good to be quiet with other people.”
The little white church sheltered by Muckish Mountain has become a sanctuary.
For the next few days it will be full of love and also pain.
The people of the community will share her extreme loss and misunderstanding, the people of the country will keep her in thoughts and prayers.
Hopefully, even in the depths of their brokenness, they will find some of their togetherness.
As one local put it, “It’s the first time in my life that I wake up in the morning and feel like I’m living in hell.
“We know everyone who left. There are no words for this.”
There isn’t either. Being speechless by an unspeakable tragedy is completely natural.
With time, the community can play a healing role to ease the pain of those most affected by this tragedy.
In time we may also get an understanding of the what and the why; but now it has to be about the who; the victims and their families.
Especially in times of deep sadness, we experience the power of support from the network of all individual threads of solidarity.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/the-strength-of-community-shines-through-in-such-dark-times-42055883.html The strength of the community shines through in such dark times