I've lost many people in many different ways. After a death, people say the most inane things.
"It was a blessing in disguise."
"He's finally at peace."
"He went the way we all want to go."
They mean well, but for those left behind, there is no good way to lose a loved one. The relief one feels at the conclusion of a long and harrowing illness is riddled with guilt. The profound grief and shock that accompany a sudden death are emotionally debilitating and can put you down for months or years.
Hence when I heard the report this morning that officials say there is no chance anyone surivived the Air France Flight 447 crash, I crumpled inside for the loved ones of those on board, sentenced to a prison of terrible hope that some impossible Cast Away scenario saved their daughter/spouse/father and that they're managing along somehow talking to a soccer ball named Wilson.
No matter how the monolithic and inarguable the facts before them are, they will have hope. I know I would. Grief is surreal. It bends you. It twists the space around you. It squeezes time.
And then one day, in a month or year or decade, the hope will leave. Maybe it will go violently or perhaps it will dissipate gradually; but one day it will be gone and the tragedy will be new again.
I am sorry. I am so sorry.