For Brandt, who I haven’t met.

My heart is breaking for someone I’ve never met. I want to do something, anything, to stop something awful from happening but I cannot. And it makes me angry, and it makes me sad, and it makes me feel hopeless and useless.

I rack my brain for things I can do. What can I do for this person to bring him happiness and comfort? I am just a nobody who reads the internet, an anonymous link-clicker who inexplicably feels so deeply for a stranger that I can’t help but cry when I think of his struggle and its impending end. I think, and cry, and think some more, but I just. don’t. know. How can I help him – him, specifically? I don’t think that I can.

Is there a way to keep this from happening to others like him? It seems more realistic, but none of my ideas go anywhere. I could donate money, I guess, but I want to give and give and give and give some more. I want to pour all my money into stopping this completely, until I’m not sad anymore. But I don’t think that will happen. Money might help, but it won’t feel like helping.

Do I have a talent I could use? I think of my skills, and I think of baking. A bake sale? Where? When? For whom? And I realize: this is just a diversion, not a direct action. I feel overwhelmed thinking about what I want to do and what I can do.

And I feel guilty about feeling overwhelmed. Because I am just an outsider. How do I have the right to feel so deeply? I have the luxury of putting this person from my mind. I can choose to forget about him. He has never been part of my life. He is not my brother, son, my grandson, my nephew or even my friend. I have never met him, and I never will. My sadness is incredibly self-centered: look at me! Look how compassionate I am! Oh, I care too much! Look how I struggle with caring so much! 

Eventually, I’ll feel it less and less and my life will glide right along.



This is really all I can figure out how to say right now.



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