Even on my darkest days, when all I feel is lacking, when all I’m aware of is everything I don’t have, I can’t even pretend to imagine the terror, horror, nightmare, fear, heartache – there isn’t even a big enough word to encompass what people caught up in the fire have been through, are going through, will continue to go through for probably all of their lives.
Home is supposed to be sanctuary, not tomb, it’s the place where we hold our loved ones close in love, not fear, it’s supposed to be the peace away from whatever struggles we face outside in the world.
This. Should not. Have happened.
There’s investigations to make, there’s analyses to be carried out, photographs to be taken and witness statements to be recorded. There is a process to follow to get to the answers and however long that takes, however much we recognise these steps are necessary, how is that ever going to feel like soon enough?
Speculation is rife at the moment, and because there doesn’t seem to have been a centralised point of information, all we feel, is frustration. True, those of us spectating this horror from a distance without personal involvement cannot appreciate what those in the middle of this are going through; this is not a situation we can empathise with because this is not something people experience, not today, not in this allegedly civilised country. But when we’re getting no clear answers, when we allow our press to bluster and blather and bullshit their way into every space occupied on our screens, it’s hard not to hate, point fingers, blame.
We need the press to keep us updated, not to invade personal tragedies. We need to know who is accountable for this, not through newsroom whispering but from those who have authority to speak on these situations. We need the press to report on this from a view of compassion and community, not who is going to score the biggest headline.
We need the authorities to speak to us. We need to know people are being heard, cared for, protected. How can people be anything but angry when it feels as though no one is being told anything? We need to know what’s happening, and it’s difficult to navigate between what people want to know and need to know when it comes to facts and figures on injuries, deaths, missing persons. But when we’re hearing the same figures repeated in our news, then hearing whispers from others telling a completely different story, it’s hard not to demand to know more, seek clarity on this nightmare situation.
We need to acknowledge that the poorest people in our society are being ignored. We need to understand why their lives are considered unworthy of just a little extra money to ensure renovations to their properties are done in their best interests and to keep them safe. We need landlords, social and otherwise, to provide homes for their tenants that are safe, fit for human habitation, not literal death traps. How is that a statement we even need to be saying; is that not obvious from a purely moral, humanitarian perspective anyway?
We need the alleged leader of this country to be a person. Not an automaton, not an approximation of what compassion is supposed to look like, we need to be able to trust them, see them in ourselves, see that they represent all of us. Whatever your political views at this moment, can any of us really say that we respect our leader? Trust them? Have faith in their abilities to lead us into an unknown future when they can’t even face these people who have lost everything in that fire? Who hides behind other people taking their flack, because they can’t handle criticism, and confrontation? Politics is not a game, and if confrontation makes you antsy, you are not fit to represent any of us, plain and simple.
But none of this. None of the bitterness, hatred, disillusionment, judgement, ridicule, is going to bring lives back. It’s not going to rebuild homes with a click of a fingers, erase the mental, physical, emotional scars people are left with after this ordeal. We can scream, and shout, and wail until our throats bleed, but none of that is going to bring those people back to us. None of it is going to ever be enough to console those left behind.
Sorry doesn’t seem like enough to say. Love not big enough to help. Kindness, continual thoughts, prayer, well-wishes; we will keep sending them in until they burst from our bodies. But right now, everything feels like it can’t ever be enough to help.