Several years ago an old lady who has lived inner city South Dallas for most of her long life told me something I'll likely never forget.
Somehow the subject of grief came up.
If I remember correctly, someone in the community whom we both knew had passed away. As we spoke about loss and the pain that attends it, this woman said, "Oh, brother Larry, we carry our grief in buckets around here. Everybody has lost so much along the way."
As I probed a bit deeper as to what she meant, she went on to remind me that loss loomed large and everywhere in her part of the city.
Lost: Jobs, mates, parents, children, siblings, health, homes, stores, schools, security, services, justice, hope. . . .
Her list trailed off, but seemed endless.
Some losses were all about death, violence, and crime.
Others related to the giant holes existing in the community's ability to simply live securely and to care for itself.
As she told me about the grief of her community and how much everyone carried, we fell silent for a long while.
Then, she said, "We just have to carry so much, so much."
All I could think to say was, "I'm so sorry."
All I could think to do was to give her a hug.
Sorrow is a burden, especially when there's so much of it.