Two words, that launch a week of personal tragedy for many and public expressions of grief for countless more.
Echoes of tsunami, 9/11, Princess Diana, JFK ... moments where events beyond our control tap into personal reservoirs of sorrow and community outpourings of compassion.
A deeply painful experience for those who have lived the devastation of the bushfires. And for those of us who have been lucky enough not to, the strange, the surreal, the swept away emotions, some of which are our own and some of which we beg, borrow and steal. To try and be connected. To try and understand.
Perhaps a more reserved, reflective pace of compassion is called for at these times. So that the individual losses of people do not become transformed into the almost meaningless mania the media would propogate.
In this, among this, wise words from one who is one of the best in the world at putting words together. At his Melbourne concert, Leonard Cohen observes that:
'Some pain is too deep, some sorrow too great for words. The best we can do is provide food, clothing and shelter to those who are in need.'
And offers this as we leave the hallowed halls of his words and music at the end of the night:
'May you be surrounded by family and friends. And if you are not, may the blessings find you in your solitude.'
A simple prayer.
Sometimes that is the best we can do.
A version of this article has been published on e-zine 360boom.