I am a self-professed info junkie, but the images coming from Haiti have been too awful, too much to bear. I’ve been avoiding them best I can, scanning headlines and catching just the quick bits of details off the various infostreams. How can your heart not break seeing such things?
The good folks at work are collecting for AmeriCares (which is getting 100% of what we collect) while our customers are being so very big hearted and generous as Americans are.
It’s easy for us to get worked up about asking every customer for a donation as this awful event hits home particularly strongly since a number of our fellow employees are from Haiti.
One man told me he has many deaths in his family before walking away, trying to regain his composure. A woman told me she hasn’t heard from her young daughter or parents and had to come to work to get away from thinking about it. Another man, who’s been trying to get a plane to Haiti to find his wife who is 8 month pregnant, told me one day he had 6 bodies waiting for him and the next day he now had 8 bodies waiting for him.
I don’t know how they do it. The anguish is written so deep on their faces, but they go on. I am reminded of Stanley Kunitz’s poem “The Testing Tree”:
In a murderous time
the heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go
through dark and deeper dark
and not to turn.
Madison Scott Bell’s NYT article Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler