The following is an excerpt from a story in the Miami Herald last weekend. (Full piece here)
We got in the taxi on the way to visit her, and a few minutes into the drive we were laughing with the driver about some little thing. And then Deb asked him, as she does of most everyone she talks to, if he lost anyone in the earthquake.
He pulled out a tiny picture, the size you get for school pictures of his beautiful little 8-year-old girl.
She was out playing in the yard near a wall when the earthquake happened and the wall fell on her. He dug her out himself and she had already passed. He wanted to take her to the countryside to bury her and was trying to gather the money to arrange getting there.
He waited three days, but after three days he could not wait any longer. So he had to wrap her carefully in a sheet and carry her into the street. Front-end loaders were coming through the streets to scoop up the bodies left on the curbs. He could not stand to leave her in the street to be scooped up by a machine. The only thing he could do was wrap her in a sheet and place her gently in the bucket of the front end loader himself -- to be driven away and buried in a mass grave. He says he thinks of her every minute. ``I am resigned,'' he says.
I hesitate repeating this story. This story that is not mine, but only witnessed, knowing that I, who am writing it, and you who are reading it, can be touched and then move on through the day, while someone else forever lives the depths of it. I wonder what greater purpose it serves, or if it numbs people to suffering to hear people's hard stories.
My hope is that maybe, in some complex configuration that connects strangers across the world . . . some steady simple equation of ripple effects. . . that a heart hurting for this little girl will connect to some resolve to love larger. The strength to nurture some other precious life.
By TORY FIELD