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(Image from Courier Mail)

This post concerns two people who lost their three children and the children’s grandfather in the crash of the Malaysian Airlines flight in the Ukraine. I begin with a press statement made by these parents:

STATEMENT FROM ANTHONY MASLIN AND RIN NORRIS

A message to the soldiers in the Ukraine, the politicians, the media, our friends and family.

Our pain is intense and relentless. We live in a hell beyond hell.

Our babies are not here with us — we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives.

No one deserves what we are going through.

Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other.

This is a revelation that gives us some comfort.

We would ask everyone to remember this when you are making any decisions that affect us and the other victims of this horror.

These words touch me. My lips move silently, shaping each one as I read it. They come from a place unknown to me: a dark and terrifying place; “a hell beyond hell”. This man and woman are speaking from such a place, and I believe their words are as inspirational as any ever written.

As I read their message, I see plenty of pain; overwhelming and unbearable; thankfully beyond my direct experience. In response I can only bow my head and breathe along with them in some sort of token solidarity. Walled in by pain and grief, it’s hard to believe there is anyone or anything that will free them. Poor people. Mother and father ripped out of their comfortable existence and wracked by grief and powerlessness on the capricious whim of someone who was given a missile launcher to play with.

Plucked out of the comfortable certainties of life turned in an instant, and set down in a cruel, cold and dark place, they sit together to write the words above. Most of us would understand and forgive them if they had expressed uncontrollable anger, hot and consuming hatred, and rage against a cruel injustice. Instead they have written of love. A love, I trust, that will ultimately bring them to a kinder place, and eventually allow a small measure of healing.

What impresses me absolutely is that I see no sign of anger or hatred, nor any of blame in their words. How they could show such composure and such insight in the midst of the most terrible and crushing experience is beyond my understanding. Nevertheless they have done this, and I can only nod my respect.

Somehow they are protected by a fierce and generous love which punches its way through despair and will ultimately keep them whole. Deep in the depths of hell, they inspire me with their message.

Reading their words, I have been reminded of the fragility of everything I take as normal and everyday: Family, friends, house, routine. I have also learned something I will digest over the coming days and weeks.

Nothing and no one in the world is as strong as love. Love is our lifeline through anything and everything that will come our way.

I pray for that mother and that father. I thank them for their insight, and although they are presently in the midst of hell, somehow I know they are on the path that leads out of it.

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