I turned on the news yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work. Generally, in the morning, our TV is either off or playing a cartoon while my son takes a few minutes to wake up before changing out of jammies, having breakfast, and brushing his teeth.
But yesterday, I turned it on because he was sleeping late and we had traveled over Christmas, so I thought I’d catch up on local events. The first story I watched told me of the sudden death of a child – a newborn baby elephant at our local zoo.
Heartbreaking, truly. My mom and I had been talking about the baby for weeks, and we were so excited to take my son to visit when she was old enough to be seen.
My first thought as the story went on was, “That poor mama.”
I don’t know anything about the intelligence level of elephants, or how they mate, or their dependence on one another. But I do know the bonds of a mother and her baby. And this mama lost her baby.
I still do not attend support groups. I do not find comfort in other’s stories of child loss. It is not because I am cold, or selfish. It is because my sense of empathy is still far to strong for me to handle the emotion of loss, outside my own. Maybe in time it will be easier. Maybe one day, I will be more of a comfort to others who suffer a similar fate. But right now, even the loss of a baby elephant tears at my heart and triggers my endless sadness.