Compassion for a Stranger

My heart is breaking today for a woman named Zoë, one whom I’ve never met.

I found her music the day after my mother died from cancer in June of 2012.

When I couldn’t speak from the pain, when I wasn’t yet ready to remember the good times, I could listen to beautiful cello music, feel soothed, and gain perspective on the feelings which threatened to bury me.

There was something about this music–its dark qualities and deep heart–that struck a spark of recovery by what it evoked, extruded, and surrendered. It was music unlike anything I’d ever heard. It allowed me the loss and the full sweep of grief about my mom’s departure as it drew me back to reconnection with life and family.

A text I received today announced her husband has died.

Part of me wants to rail at the gods before I cynically confirm that there are no gods and never were.

I’m angry. Why her? Why him?

Why is a bad question to ask on the road to compassion. Why is a quagmire of non-acceptance. Why trumpets resistance and invokes bargaining.

A better question is how?

How can I, a distant stranger, do anything to ease Zoë Keating’s sorrow at the loss of her husband?

I don’t know that I can. But if you read this, and have room for one small act of compassion, please think of her and wish her comfort. Pray for her if that’s your style. Her loss is heavy. I wish it were different.

I teeter on the balance between anger and compassion, powerlessness to bring solace, yet wishing it fervently all the same.