I'm struggling with the intensity of sadness around me right now. I feel like it's thigh deep and murky, almost like I'm met with resistance with each footstep. At work, there have been multiple stories of women in their late 50's to 60's coming in for help as they face divorce after 30-40 years of marriage. One by one, they have no idea how to unravel a lifetime of joined finances, lawyer requests and lost certainty. They've all been professionals, so it's not uncertainty at how they'll survive, but rather that their lives are undergoing such a massive change after being married for so long. Three different times I heard, "Heather, I wouldn't wish this on anyone."
Add to this the news today that the body of the little girl found on Deer Island, MA has been identified, and it's as horrible as we all feared. Earlier this summer, when the not quite three year old unidentified girl, now we know her to be Bella Bond, was found in a trash bag on the beach, there was so much shock and surprise that no one knew who she was or where she came from. There was speculation that maybe she was the child of an illegal immigrant, and that was why no one came forward. Or maybe she was from another part of the country, taken by a predator and dumped here. How could no one miss her ... a parent, a relative, a nosy neighbor. When I was younger and the news would broadcast the mysterious death of a child or a parent holding a press conference to find a missing toddler, at some point during the broadcast my mother would say out loud that one or both of the parents were the culprits. We'd look at her in horror at the matter-of-fact statement, shocked that it could be true. She'd tell us, mark my words, it was either one of the parents or a relative or a neighbor. It's almost always someone close to the situation. Sometimes the bogeyman jumps out of the bushes, but most of the time they're down the hallway.
Now we know that Bella's mother's boyfriend is being charged with murder and her mother with accessory after the fact. She was killed, and her mother stuffed her tiny body in a trash bag and left her on the beach. In my heart, I feared the mother was involved, as the baby's blanket was with her body. We're going to find out that her family was fucked up in multiple ways, that the neighbors knew how bad it was but didn't want to get involved, that the state intervened as best they could but with lack of evidence and under staffing they did the best they could. Meanwhile, there's still a dead child that I can only pray suffered as little as possible on the day she left this earth. I can't even bear to spend time thinking otherwise. As this plays out in the news, a thousand humans in the surrounding counties are praying to be parents for the first time or again, as they struggle with infertility or life circumstances that make it impossible for them to have a baby.
Maybe that's why the sadness seems extra thick. Our eldest child will be 18 soon. I have wanted another child for so long, and each month that passes makes it achingly obvious that it's not going to happen. Every story like Bella's rips at me, these unwanted little ones casually tossed to the side either in a moment of passion or in lengthy neglect. I can't help but think about the dichotomy of refugee parents fleeing from Syria shrieking as their children are torn from them by the waves, while Bella lay crumpled in a trash bag while the waters off Massachusetts Bay washed over her.